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Full text of "Sketch of the life of John Quincy Adams; taken from the Port Folio of April, 1819. To which are added, the letters of Tell: originally addressed to the editor of the Baltimore American. Respectfully submitted to the serious consideration of those freeholders of Virginia, who desire to exercise the high privelege of voting for a president of the United States at the approaching election"

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/ 

SKETCH 

or THE LIFE or* 

TAKEN FROM THE PORT FOLIO OF APRIL, 1B19, 

TO WHICH ARE ADDEI>, 

THE LETTERS OF TELL: 

ORIGINALLY ADDRESSED TO THE EDITOR OF THE 
BALTIMORE AMERICAN. 



Jiespeclfully submitted to the serious consideration of those Freeholders 

of Virginia, who desire to exercise the high privilege of 

voting for a PRESIDENT of the United States 

at the approaching Election. 

V 1824. 

-/■ 
_'■''_ , ^ . . . 



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St'-'- 



I 



SKETCH OF THE LIFE 



OK 



JOHN QUIZffCY ADAMS. 



Adout the year 1630, a man by the name of Henry Adams 
came from England, with seven sons, all of whom were mar- 
ried. The father and one of the sons settled in the town of 
Braintree, about ten miles from Boston, in the then province, 
of Massachusetts Bay. The other sons, excepting one, who 
returned to England, fixed their abode in several other parts 
of the same province. Their descendants have multiplied in 
the common proportion known to the experience of this coun- 
try, and the name is one of those most frequently met with, 
in almost every part of this commonwealth. They were 
originally farmers and tradesmen ; and until the controver- 
sies between Great Britain and the colonies arose, scarcely 
any of them had emerged from the obscurity in which those 
stations were held. Few of them before that time had pos- 
sessed the. advantages of education. The father of the late 
governor of Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, was, 1 believe, the 
first of the name distinguished in any public character. He- 
was a merchant in Boston, and for some time a representative 
of that town in the general assembly of the province. 

Samuel Adams, and Mr. John Q. Adams's father, John 
Adams, were both descended from the first Henry, but by two 
of the sons. They were therefore remotely connected in 
blood; but there is a very early incident in the life of each 
of them,, which seems to indicate, that the spirit of indepen- 
dence, which is so strongly marked in the history of the New 
England colonies from their first settlement, had been largely 
shared by the family from which they came, and instilled with 
all its etficacy into their minds. 

They were both educated at Harvard college, an institu- 
tion founded in 1638, and thus coeval with the first settlement 
of the Massachusetts colony. It is the seminary from which 
almost every man of any eminence in our history has issued, 
until the establishment so much more recent of other Ame- 
rican colleges. 

Samuel Adams was many years older than Mr. John Q, 
Adams's father. He received his degree of master of arts at 
Harvard college in 1743. It was then the custom at that 
college, that the candidates for this degree, should each of 
them propose a question, having relation to any of the sci- 
ences in which they had been instructed, and assuming the 
affirmative or negative side of the proposition, profess to be 



4 

prepared to defend llie principle contained in it, at the piib- 
lic commencement, against all opponents. 

The question proposed by Samuel Adams was, " whether 
the people have a just right of resistance, when oppressed by 
their rulers," and the side which he asserted was the affirma- 
tive. 

John Adams took his degree of bachelor of arts in 1755, 
and that of master in 1733. There has been published in 
the Monthly Anthology, a letter written by him in the year 
1755, and in the twentieth year of his age; written to one 
of his youthful companions, Dr. Nathan Webb, and in which 
the probability of a severance of the British colonies from 
the mother country ; the causes from which that event would 
naturally proceed, and the policy by which Britain might 
prevent it, are all indicated with the precision of prophecy. 
The date of this letter, the age at which it was written, and 
the standing in society of the writer at the time, are circum- 
stances which render it remarkable ; no eopy of it was kept; 
but its contents appear to have made a strong impression upon 
the person to whom it was written. He carefully preserved 
it, and dying many years afterwards it fell into the possession 
of his nephew. In his hands it remained until about the year 
1807 ; when, after the lapse of more than half a century, he 
sent it as a curious document, back to the writer himself. 

John Q. Adams's mother's maiden name was Smith. She 
too is of English extraction, but her parents for three pre- 
ceding generations had been natives of this country. Her 
father was a clergyman, and grandfather a merchant in Bos- 
ton. Her mother was a daughter of John Quincy, who was 
many years a member of the provincial legislature, several 
times speaker of the house, and afterwards a member of the 
council. His name is mentioned in Hutchinson's History of 
Massachusetts Bay. 

John Q. Adams was born at Braintree ; in that part of the 
town which is now incorporated by the name of Quincy. The 
day of his birth was Saturday, July 1 I, 1767. The next day 
he wag christened by the name of his great grandfather, who 
at the very moment when J. Q. Adams received his name, 
was resigning his own spirit into the hands of his Maker. 

In the eleventh year of his age, Mr. Adams's father took 
him to France, where he was himself sent as a joint commis- 
sioner with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, at the court 
of Versailles. They sailed from Boston in February 1778. 
and arrived at Bordeaux in the beginning of April of the 
same year. Before that time J Q Adams's education had 
been that oT our common schools, interrupted by the con- 



6 

fulsions of the times, but supplied by the substituted cares 
and attention of both his parents. His obligations to them 
in this respect are such as gratitude can never repay to them. 
The impression resulting from it upon his own mind has been 
that of a special duty incumbent upon him to pay the debt of 
the former age to that which is to succeed ; and to reward his 
parents by transferring the same obligations to his children. 

After residing about eighteen months in France, where he 
was successively placed at two different schools, where he 
learnt the language of the country, and a little Latin, he re- 
turned home with his father. Instead of three commission- 
ers, congress had found it more expedient to keep, at the 
French court, a single minister. Dr. Franklin was appointed 
to that office ; Mr. Lee had a separate commission for Spain ; 
and Mr. Adams's father received permission to come home. 
They came in the French frigate, La Sensible, in company 
with the chevalier de la Luzerne, who succeeded M. Girard, 
as the minister of France to the United States. They arrived 
at Boston, August 1, 1779. The Massachusetts convention, 
for forming a constitution, was then just about to assemble. 
Mr. Adams's father was elected a member of that body, and 
drew the original plan of the constitution, which, with some 
moditications, made by the convention, was afterwards adopt- 
ed, and is still the constitution of that commonwealth. 

In November of the same year, 1779, the father of Mr. 
Adams was again sent to Europe, with a commission for ne- 
gotiating peace, and a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, 
whenever that power should be disposed to terminate the war. 
He took J. Q. Adams with him again, together with his 
younger brother, Cliarles, who is since dead. They embark- 
ed at Boston in the same French frigate. La Sensible, then 
upon her return to France; she was bound to Brest; but a 
few days after she sailed, in a gale of wind she sprung a leak, 
which, in the course of a very short passage became so large, 
that she was obliged to make the first land she could reach in 
Europe, and entered the port of Ferrol, in Spain. She was 
unable without a thorough repair to accomplish the remain- 
der ot her voyage. Mr. Adams therefore disembarked, and 
travelled by land from Ferrol to Paris; where he arrived in 
January, 1780. J. Q. Adams was here put again to school. 
But in July of the same year, his father went to tlolland, and 
took his sons with him there. They were placed first at the 
pu'jlic city-school at Amsterdam, and afterwards at the uni- 
versity of Leyden. In July, 1781, Mr. Francis Dana, who 
had accompanied Mr. Adams's father to Europe, as secretary 
to the legation for negotiating peace, received a commission 



6 

from congress, as minister plenipotentiary to the empress of 
Itiissia ; and J, Q. Adams went with him, as his private secre- 
tary. He was with him fourteen months at St. Petersburg, 
and in October, 178-2, left him to return through Sweden, Den- 
mark, Hamburg, and Bremen, to Holland, where his father 
had shortly before been received as minister plenipotentiary 
from the United States, and had concluded the commercial 
treaty with the republic of the United Netherlands. Upon 
this journey he employed the whole winter; passing several 
weeks at Stockholm, at Copenhagen and at Hamburg. He 
reached the Hague in April, 1783. His father was then at 
Paris, engaged in the negotiations for p<ace. From April 
until July, J. Q. Adams remained at the Hague, residing with 
and receiving instruction from C. W. F. Dumas, a native of 
Switzerland, a man of letters, who had been a zealous friend 
to the American cause, and then held an ofKce as agent for 
the United States. In July, an interval of suspension occur- 
red to the negotiations, during which Mr. Adams's fother was 
called for a short time to Amsterdam ; on his return to Paris, 
he took his eldest son with him. The definitive treaty of 
peace was signed September 3, 1783; from which time until 
May, 1785, he was chielly with his father in England, Holland 
and France. 

Mr. Adams was now nearly eighteen years of age ; and his 
education, as the above detail of his wanderings about the 
world will show, had been rather desultory than regularly 
systematic ; rath* calculated to make him acquainied with 
men than with books. Hence it happened, that although he 
was always of a studious turn, and addicted to books beyond 
the bounds of moderation, yet his ac(|uirements in literature 
and science were all superficial, and he did not attain so pro- 
found a knowledge of things as he could have wished. At 
the period of which we are now speaking, he became sensible 
of other inconveniences which might proceed from a longer 
continuance in such an unsettled course. By remaining much 
lonj:;cr in Europe, he saw the danger of an alienation from his 
own country, which would disqualify him for contentment 
with his condition in aftertimes, and he found himself con- 
tracting sentiments, manners, and opinions of European 
growth, which he knew could not suit the regions where he 
expected to pass his days, and for which he had retained the 
warmest afl'ection. His father was appointed minister to the 
court of St. James's ; but instead of going with him, J. Q. 
Adams requested permission to return to his native country, 
and finish his education among his own people. This inclina- 
tion exac'ly concurred with the wishes of Mr. Adams's father. 



He returned to America, and after six months of studies with 
a private instructor, to acquire sutKcient knowledge of the 
Greek language (which, until then, he had neglected) for ad- 
mission to the university at Cambridge, he entered there in 
a class advanced almost to the end of the third year of the 
collegiate course ; and finishing with them the usual term of 
study, took the degree of bachelor of arts, in July, 1787. He 
then immediately entered as a student at law in the office of 
Theophilus Parsons, who then resided at Newburyport, and 
was one of the most eminent lawyers which this country has 
produced. After three years of attendance there, J. Q. Adams 
was admitted to the bar in the courts of the state, and fixed 
his residence in the capital of Massachusetts. 

He resided in Boston about four years. His professional 
practice, during that time, was inconsiderable. His attendance 
at his office was unremitted ; and having little business to 
occupy his time, he employed much of it in speculations upon 
political subjects in the newspapers. In the summer of 1791, 
he pubhshed a series of papers in the Boston Centinel, under 
the signature of Publicola. containing remarks upon the First 
Part of Paine's Rights of Man. These papers were for some 
time attributed to his father, and, for that reason, excited much 
public notice, both in this country and in Europe. They 
were at first very unpopular here, as containing political he- 
resy, and questioning the infallibility of the French revolu- 
tion. But having been republished in England, and received 
with some public commendation there, they afterwards rose 
much in the estimation of that class of literary characters 
among us (and it was once, and still is, too numerous a tribe) 
who import their opinions, twice a year, from London or Li- 
verpool, with the other articles of British manufacture. 

In April, 1793, on the first information that war between 
Great Britain and France had been declared, Mr. Adams pub- 
lished in the Centinel three papers under the signature of 
Marcellus ; the object of which was, to prove that the duty 
and the interest of the United States required that they should 
remain neutral in that war. These papers were published 
before president Washington's proclamation of neutrality, and 
when the writer had no knowledge that such a proclamation 
was contemplated. There are two political principles which 
form the basis of the system of policy best suited to the inte- 
rests and the duties of this country — one in relation to its 
internal concerns — union; the other, in respect to its inter- 
course with foreign nations — independence. These principles 
appear to be the keys to his political creed. He believed that 
both the union and independence of the nation depended 






much upon the estabhshment of the system of our neulruklij 
in the wars of Europe. He thought that was the critical mo- 
ment for the estabhshment of this system, and there were 
symptoms of a tendency in the pubhc opinion, which might 
have involved us immediately in the war, as allies of France. 
These were the motives wliich dictated the papers signed 
Marcelhis, which were not much noticed at the time, and 
■which have long since been forgotten. 

Not discouraged by neglect, our young politician, in the 
winter of 1793 and 1794, pubhshed another series of paper* 
in support of president Washington's administration, in the 
controversies excited by the French minister. Genet. It was 
his zeal for the independence of the nation, which again im- 
pelled him to write; and on this occasion his sentiments hap- 
pened to accord so well with the prevailing public opinion, 
that these papers were received with much favour, and contri- 
buted to give reputation to their author. 

In May, 1794, he was appointed minister resident to the 
United Netherlands. The circumstances which led to this 
appointment were never known to himself. The nomination 
•was, of course, made by president Washington. It was said 
that his name was mentioned to the president by Mr. Jeffer- 
son, before his retirement from the department of state. With 
Mr. Adams, Mr. Jefferson had some personal acquaintance 
while he was in France. It has also been said that the papers 
just mentioned had attracted the president's attention, and led 
him to make inquiries concerning their author. Mr. Adams's 
father was then vice-president ; but the appointment was as 
unexpected to him as to his son. 

From 1794 to 1801, Mr. Adams was in Europe, succes- 
sively employed as a public minister in Holland, England, and 
Prussia. One of the last acts of president Washmgton's ad- 
ministration was the nomination of him as minister plenipo- 
tentiary to the court of Portugal. But while on his way from 
the Hague to Lisbon, he received a new commission, which 
changed his destination to Berlin. The nomination of Mr. 
Adams to this mission was made by his father; and has been 
represented as an office bestowed by him upon his son. It 
was even asserted, in the public newspapers, that he had re- 
ceived the separate outfits of these different appointments. 
The truth was, that on his first appointment, in 1794, he re- 
ceived the outfit only of a minister resident, *j54,50O; that on 
liis subsequent appointment as minister plenipotentiary to 
Lisbon, he received, not the full outfit of a minister of that 
rank, but so much as, with the ^4,500 received in 1794, 
anaounled to that outfit; that is to say, ^4,500 more ; making 



in the whole, ^9,000, the outfit which has always been allowed 
to every minister plenipotentiary, from the first appointment 
of ministers, under our present constitution. In this respect, 
the case of Mr. Adams, we believe, has been peculiar. There 
have, at least, been instances of a full outfit allowed, on a new 
appointment given to a person already abroad — and this cir- 
cumstance may have given rise to the misrepresentation of 
the fact, as it respected Mr. Adams. The appointment which 
he held under the nomination of his father, subjected him to 
additional expenses, but never gave him the addition of a dol- 
lar from the public treasury to that which be should have been 
entitled to, under the appointment to Lisbon. He resided at 
Berlin from November, 1797, until April, 1801 ; and during 
that time concluded a treaty of commerce with Prussia ; which 
had been the principal object of this mission. He was then 
recalled, just before the commencement of Mr. Jefferson's 
administration. He arrived at Philadelphia, in September, 
1801. 

In 1 802, he was elected a member of the Senate of Mas- 
sachusetts, and served in that capacity one year. He was 
then elected, by the legislature of the same state, a senator 
of the United States, for six years, from the 4th of March, 
1803. In June, 1808, he resigned that office. In March, 
1809, he was nominated by Mr. Madison for a mission to Rus- 
sia, but a majority of the senate being of opinion that such a 
mission was inexpedient and unnecessary, no vote was takeuL 
on the nomination. 

The part which Mr. Adams has acted, while in public life, 
has naturally been diversified in the detail, by the different 
offices in which he has been placed. While abroad, his situa- 
tion wslS ministerial ; his general duty was marked out by his 
instructions ; and they were pursued to the satisfaction of the 
executive authority by which he was employed. 

As a member of the state legislature, he made himself ob- 
noxious to a great and powerful combination of banking inte- 
rests, by a strong but ineffectual opposition to a bank making 
speculation, of which the time is not yet come to tell the 
whole truth. 

In the senate of the United States, he thought it his duty 
to support the existing administration, in every measure which, 
his impartial judgment could approve. But while he thus dis- 
charged what he conceived to be his duty, he committed the 
unpardonable sin against party. The legislature of Massa- 
chusetts, by a smalll majority of federal votes, in May, 1 808, 
elected another person to represent them, from the expira- 
tion of Mr. Adams's term of service, and he immediately re« 

2 



10 

signed the remainder of that term. They had passed reso- 
lutions, in the nature of instructions to their ^nators, which 
Mr. Adams disapproved. He chose neither to act in con- 
formity to those resolutions, nor to represent constituents who 
had no confidence in him. 

It has already been remarked, that, from the unsettled and 
desultory manner in which his years of infancy were em- 
ployed, Mr. Adams never attained a profound knowledge of 
any of the sciences. He had always, however, an eager relish 
for the pursuits of literature, and acquired, at an early period 
of life, a taste for the fine arts. In the capitals of the great 
European nations, the monuments of architecture and of sculp- 
ture continually meet the eye, and cannot escape the atten- 
tion even of the most careless observer. Painting — music — 
the decorations of the drama, and the elegant arts which are 
combined in its representations — have a charm to the senses 
aiid imagination of youth, vivid in proportion to the perfec- 
tion which they naturally attain in those large cities, where 
immense multitudes of men are compre^ised within so small 
an extent of space. The exhibitions of excellence in all those 
faculties, which Mr. Adams had frequent opportunities of wit- 
nessing, at the time of life when they were calculated to make 
the strongest impression, gave him a taste for them, which 
has contributed to much of the enjoyment of his life. 

In the year 1806, a professorship of rhetoric and oratory 
was instituted at Harvard university, founded upwards of 
thirty years since, by Nicholas Boylston, formerly a merchant 
of Boston. Mr. Adams was appointed the first professor on 
this foundation, and has delivered a course of lectures, on the 
subjects of the institution, which have been published in two 
volumes, 8vo. 

Here it may not be improper to mention, that while Mr. 
Adams was minister in Prussia, he wrote that Journal of a 
Tour throvgh Silesia, which gave so much interest to the 
earliest numbers of this miscellany. The Jirst letter formed 
the Jirst article of the first number which our accomplished 
predecessor submitted to the public attention ; and we cannot 
deny ourselves the pleasure of transcribing the editorial para- 
graph, because it shows with what elegance and justice one 
man of genius can praise another : "The subsequent letter 
is the commencement of a series, which will -be regularly 
published in this paper. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the 
general excellence of the following tour. It will be obvious 
to every intelligent reader, that it has been made by no vul- 
gar traveller, but by a man of genius and observation, who, 
iu happy union, combines the power of selecting the most 



n 

interesting and picturesque objects, and of describing thcni 
gracefully."— PoW Folio, Jan. 1801. 

These letters were afterwards republished in London, in 
two volumes, 8vo., without permission from the proprietor of 
the Port Folio, and have since been translated into French. 

Mr. Dennie found in Mr. Adams, what, among editors, is 
termed a constant and valuable correspondent, as very nume- 
rous articles in the early volumes of this journal would testify, 
if it were proper to designate them. 

In August, 1809, he returned to a political life, having been 
appointed minister plenipotentiary to the emperor of Russia. 
His subsequent negotiations at Ghent, and his recent appoint- 
ment to the office of Secretary of State, must be fresh in the 
recollection of our readers. 

Mr. Adams was married at London, in July, 1797, to Lou- 
isa Catherina, the second daughter of Joshua Johnson, theu 
consul of the United States at that place. He was a native 
of Maryland, and a brother of Thomas Johnson, some time 
governor of that state, and a distinguished patriot of the revo- 
lution. 



PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. 



LETTER U 
Ho the Editors of the American. 

Gentlemen : Your recent determination to open your co- 
lumns to the discussion of the important question, " who shall 
be our next President ? " seems to have given very general 
satisfaction to those who know the value of your paper, and 
to none more than to the humble individual who now addresses 
you. The question now certainly possesses incomparably 
greater interest than has ever been attached to it, at any former 
Presidential Election. This is the natural result of time and 
circumstance. Heretofore, the people have been guided, in 
their selection of a President, by their estimation of his ser- 
vices in the field or cabinet, during the great struggle for in- 
dependence. So long as they could recur to the little band 
of worthies, who had borne a part in the revolution, it was an 
easy task, successively, to single out the most conspicuous ob- 
ject of the nation's gratitude and admiration. No intrigue, 
no cabal, no discussion, was necessary to point the nation to 
the individual, upon whom, with one accord, it had already 
fixed its view. Our Presidents, indeed, hitherto, have been 
wooed, rather than the wooers of the people : they have been 
the general rallying points of a grateful patriotism, or of some 
equally noble feeling, which raised them, without solicitation, 
far above all competitors, whose claims were of younger date 
than the era of '76. 

But a generation has now passed away. Our race of revo- 
lutionary heroes and statesmen is nearly extinct; or, if a few 
still linger on the stage of life, we can no longer hope to find 
among them, that unwasted vigour of constitution and intel- 
lect, which the arduous and important duties of Chief Magis- 
trate demand. Fathers have now yielded their places to sons ; 
the circle from which to select has become greatly enlarged ; 
and merit must be tried by other tests, than those established 
by the revolution. We are now to look at future promise, 
rather than at ^d^ii performance ; at the capacity and the will 
to do, rather than at what has been done. 

Under such considerations, it becomes the duty of every 
man, who has at heart the continued prosperity of his coun- 
try, to engage in the enquiry. The question to be determin- 
ed, is one of momentuous concern ; the office to be be- 
stowed is the highest and most honourable, in the gift of an 
enlightened and free people ; and the permanence and wel- 



13 

fare, or the decline and ruin, of the noblest fabric of govern- 
ment which the wisdom of man has ever reared, may depend 
upon the issue. 

The Candidates, who have been induced, by vanity, ambi- 
tion, the solicitation of partial friends, or other motives, to 
aspire to this exalted station, are as numerous as though the 
prize were at the disposal of chance, rather than in the hands 
of a discerning people. Each has own friends, and his im- 
placable enemies ; and a species of warfare has been carried 
on among them, which certainly has bore no resemblance to 
that dignified emulation, which alone should actuate honoura- 
ble rivals for the people's favour. Your own character, sirs, 
and the high and well merited reputation of your paper, are 
sufficient pledges to the public, that the champions who enter 
the arena which you have opened to them, though they may 
sometimes " tilt with piercing steel," will at least observe to- 
wards each other the courtesies and rights of knighthood. In 
the very nature of the question to be discussed, mdeed, it 
must become occasionally necessary to speak of the opposing 
pretensions of the several candidates. In doing this, compar- 
isons vf\\\ be unavoidable; for, though it should be shown, 
positively or simply, that any one of them is qualitied for the 
Presidency, yet it would be necessary further to show not on- 
ly that he is better qualitied than another, but that he is the 
iesf qualified of all. The only fear of unpleasant collision 
between your correspondents, will lie in the manner, in which 
they may put their respective favourites (hrough these degrees 
of comparison. For myself, Messrs. Editors, " I am one of 
those gentle ones that would use the Devil himself with cour- 
tesy ;" and provided you will permit me to appear whole and 
entire, and without the ceremony of cutting and docking, I 
promise neither to ask for an unreasonable space in your 
paper, nor to say a word that shall offend the strictest laws of 
decorous discussion. 

Having premised thus much, 1 shall now, with your leave, 
gentlemen, enter without further ceremony upon the question. 

I have already stated, what will not be denied, that the 
unanimity of the people, hitherto, in their choice of a Presi- 
dent, has been chiefly produced by a feeling of patriotic grat- 
itude, as well as of admiration, for the successful exertion of 
talents during our struggle to be free. The same veneration 
for the principles of the revolution, will, it is to be hoped, 
continue to influence their decision ; and since they can no 
longer hope to find, among the few survivors of that memora- 
ble period, that physical and mental energy, without which 
virtue itself would lose its claim to distioctiou, they have on- 




il 

ly to seek among the candidates, for him who has profited 
most by the opportunities alTorded him, of forming his char- 
acter after the model of our revolutionary fathers. I have 
no disposition, Messrs. Editors, to waste either your time or 
my own, with affected circumlocution on this subject ; and 
shall therefore at once state the proposition, to the demonstra- 
tion of which all my arguments will be directed. JOHN 
QUINCY ADAMS, in every essential attribute of his charac- 
ler, approaches nearest to that combination of excellence^ which 
has hitherto been the ground of our preference, and is therefore 
the best qualifed to be our next President, 

It is not my purpose to write a biography of Mr. Adams ; but 
as I shall be compelled occasionally to refer to the chronolog- 
ical events of his life, I must entreat the reader's patience, if 
matters are again brought before him, with which he is already 
familiar. When the glorious cry of Independence first is- 
sued from the halls of Congress, and the sound was echoed 
back in thunder from every mountain and valley in the confed- 
erated states, the impression which it made upon the hearts 
and minds of all who heard it, must have been deep and in- 
delible. At this period of universal excitement, John Quin- 
CY Adams had just reached the age, when impressions are 
most easily made, and with most difficulty effaced. The con- 
spicuous part which his immediate family and distant relatives 
acted, in bringing about this important change in all the af- 
fairs and relations of the colonies ; — the sort of society by 
which, under such circumstances, he must have been sur- 
rounded — the letter to the family, announcing that the awful 
Declaration had been made — the anxious feelings of a mother, 
on such an occasion, which must have often burst forth, in the 
presence of her children, in earnest prayer, for the success of 
a cause which involved the life and safety of a husband, father 
and friend; — all these circumstances must have combined to 
produce on the mind of young Adams, an impression, which no 
subsequentevents couldhave obliterated, orcanever obliterate. 
That impression, it would be madness to doubt, must have been 
friendly to the principles of the Revolution. 

With such feelings, then, long before the close of the War 
of Independence, he accompanied his father — who was not 
likely to let them sleep — to France. Here again, he was 
surrounded by the friends of American liberty and Indepen- 
dence, and the natural enemies of that government, against 
which his infant country was struggling. From this time, un- 
til 1785, with the exception of a few months, he remained 
abroad, — partly with his father, and partly in the family of a 
iientlcman who stood [wjh in the estimation of our revolution- 



15 

ary fathers : but always in situations where it Was most cer- 
tain, his early impressions in favour of his country's cause, 
would be strengthened and matured. At the period above men- 
tioned, young Adams returned home, and continued in the 
country for about nine years, that is, until he was appointed 
resident Minister to the Netherlands, in 1791. It was during 
this period that he completed his collegiate and professional 
studies ; " and having," as his biographer informs us, but 
" little business to occupy his time," be devoted much of it 
to political subjects ; and it is a fact worthy of notice, that the 
view which he then took, young as he was, of the true poli- 
cy of this country, in relation to the wars of Europe, was ' 
precisely that which was afterguards adopted by Washington^ 
and subsequently recommended and pursued by Jefferson^ 
namely, a system of neutrality. He maintained with great in- 
genuity and ability, that the happiness and prosperity of these 
states, depended upon their union and independence, both of 
which would necessarily be endangered by any interference 
in the quarrels of foreign powers. 

" These principles" as has been elegantly said, " appear to 
be the keys to his political creed." They were certainly the 
principles of Washington and of Jefferson ; and without them 
no system of policy can lead to the permanent felicity of this 
government or people. It was in support of these priaciples, 
and of the neutral policy of Washington, that he published 
another series of papers in the winter of 1793 and 1794, un- 
der the signature of Columbus. It will be remembered that 
about this time, the French Minister, Gennet, had set at work 
every engine, which ingenuity, cunning, or intrigue, could 
invent, to create among the people a spirit of hostility to the 
administration of Washington. His machinations were ably 
and successfully combatted by Mr. Adams, whose labours on 
this occasion attracted the particular notice and approbation 
of Washington j and would, now that the effervescence of 
feeling excited by the French Revolution has subsided, com- 
mand the approbation of eren/ unprejudiced American. 

Thus far we see, that there is nothing in the political senti- 
ments of Mr. Adams, at variance with the purest and sound- 
est "principles of Republicanism. In my next, I shall proceed 
to shew, that however securely the Federalists may have 
counted upon him hitherto as one of their partizans, they ceas- 
ed so to consider him, on the first occasion which called for the 
expression of hh parly feelinqs, after his return from Europe 
in 1801. ^ TELL. 



ll> 



LETTER II. 

To the Editors of the American. 

Gentlemen : !n my first letter which you have done me the 
favour to publish, and for which 1 owe you my thanks, it was 
attempted to be shown, and it was, I think, satisfactorily shown, 
that there was no expression of a single sentiment or opinion, 
in the pubhc writings of Mr. Adams, prior to the year 1794, 
at variance with the soundest and purest principles, of repub- 
Ucayiism, That he had, on the contrary, proved himself not 
only well acquainted with the system of policy best adapted 
to the internal and foreign relations of this country, but also 
an able supporter of that system. 

1 should hardly deem it necessary to add another word, on 
the subject of Mr. Adams's early political sentiments, but that 
great stress has been laid, by the friends o( all the other candi- 
dates, upon consistency of principles. No one, I believe, doubts 
that Mr. Adams noio belongs to the republican party. There 
is, in fact, at present, no other party in the United States. 
The Executive and Legislative branches of the government of 
every state in the union, are at this momeut republican } and 
the attempt to revive the distinctions and animosities of party ^ 
hy insisting on the necessity of choosing a President who has 
been uniformly republican, has been got up only as a counter- 
poise to the superior qualifications and pretensions of John 
Quincy Adams. The absurd attempt to fix upon Mr. Craw- 
ford the charge o( federalism, because, in a moment of pa- 
triotic enthusiasm, he forget the difference of parties, and felt 
and acted only as an American, whose country was threatened 
with danger, was intended, not to injure him, but to excite 
anew the long forgotten animosities of republicans against the 
administration of Mr. Adams's/cMer, and thus, if possible, to 
hring his political sins to bear upon the son. This mode of 
discussing the question is puerile, as well as illiberal. No 
man ever lived who, uniformly, and under all circumstances, 
viewed the same subject in the same light. The faculty of rea- 
son is given to us, that we may think and act according to oc- 
casion. Opinion must be the result of circumstance, and, to 
be correct, must follow the change of circumstance. Is it 
because the people of the United States have chayiged their 
principles, that the whole country is now republican ? No — 
but because the circumstance and condition of the country 
have undergone a change ; and opinions on questions of policy, 
have followed the same course. It is with a view of meeting 
the question upon these grounds, that I shall be compelled to 
trouble you wTth a {ow additional remarks upon the early po- 
litical career of Mr. Adams, before I enter upon the much 



17 

Biore important subject of hh present ftncss for tlie station of 
president. I shall show, that hy whatever name he nsay have 
been, or nnay now be, called, his principles have been uni- 
formly consistent ; and that those principles have been, through- 
out the whole of his political life, essentially rtpiibiican. 

It has been seen, that John Quincy Adams vvas appointed 
by Washington, in 1791, resident Minister to the United Nc- 
thei lands. He left this country in fullilment of his mission, 
more than two years before the commencement of his father's 
administration, and did not return to it, until some time after 
Mr. Jefferson had been inaugurated as President of the United 
States. No evidence whatever appears that, while abroad, he 
took any part in the controversies of the two political parties 
at hone. On the contrary, the early volumes of the Port 
Folio bear ample testimony, in the journal of a tour through 
Silesia, the translation from the German of Bulow's travels, 
and numerous other articles known to be from his pen, that 
most of the time, which could be spared from his diplomatic 
duties, was devoted to the more agreeable and most useful 
pursuits of general literature, history, and science. It is as 
unnecessary, as it would be unjust, to venture upon conjec- 
tures, in relation to the party which Mr. Adams would, pro- 
hably, have espoused, had he been within the United States, 
during the rancorous and bitter contest which ended in the 
establishment of a republican administration. It is sufficient 
that he was not here to espouse either party ; and that he had 
not previously committed himself by the avov/al of any senti- 
ment hostile to the spirit of our constitution or government. 

In the autumn of 1801, Mr. Adams returned to the United 
States, and was very soon afterwards elected a member of the 
Senate of his native state. 1 «Io not mean to deny that he was 
elected by the Federal party, who at that time had the ascen- 
dency in the state, and who no doubt elected him under the 
expectation that he would prove an able and willing auxiliary. 
But the following anecdote will show, that they counted too 
securely upon his aid, and that his principles were too liberal 
to suit the character of a partizan. If the truth of the anec- 
dote should be doubted, it can be substantiated by the most 
unquestionable testimony. The senate of Massachusetts con- 
sists o{ forty members : from among these, the constitution 
requires that nine shall be chosen, by joint ballot of both 
houses, to form the Council to the Governor. If the senators 
so chosen shall accept their appointments, their seats in the 
Senate remain vacant, and that body then consists but oithirty- 
ene members. From this peculiar feature in the constitution 
of Massachusetts, it will be readily seen, that when parti en 



i*£ 



IS 

happen to be nearly of equal strength, the subtraction oi nine 
mennbers from tilher, might give ascendency to the other. — 
It is an iinport'ant piece ofpolicy, therefore, on such occasions, 
to determine, in caucus, who shall be nominated, and to take, 
especial care that the nomination shall lead to no loss of nt«/i- 
oers. Soon after Mr. Adams had taken his seat in the senate, 
he was invited to, and attended, such a caucus of the Federal 
party ; and after some little discussion of the subject, he arose, 
and in a speech, the liberal sentiments of which astounded the 
Essex Junta and HartfordConvention politicians of the day, 
proposed that the Council should he selected/ram both parties in 
proportion to their resptctixe numbers in the Legislature. He 
contended, that as the Council was a public body, provided by 
the constitution for the benefit of the zvhole people, and not to 
serve the purposes of party, it was their solemn duty to con- 
sult the wisiies of the whole people in its nomination, and not 
the wishes of a part only. This tiuly republican proposition 
was of course rejected ; and its author was stigmatized as a 
theorist, not yet initiated into the mysteries o{ party politics. 
From that moment, the leaders of the Federal party looked 
upon Mr. Adams with eyes of suspicion and distrust ; and five 
or six years afterward, when all their hopes and efl'orts to at- 
tach him to their cause had failed, this anecdote was related 
to a most respectable ijentleman, now a member of Congress, 
by one of the chiefs of the Essex Junta, to shew the party 
had long regarded Mr. Adams as belonging to the Jtffersonian 
school of politics. 

One other occasion only occurred, during the year that he 
was a member of the Senate of iVIassachuselts, of further 
evincing his regard for the interests of the people, and his de- 
termined opposition to all oppressive monopolies, and aristo- 
cratic combinations. I allude to the question of chartering a 
new banking institution ; which had been got up by the mo- 
neyed capitalists of Boston for purposes of speculation, and 
to which many members of the Legislature had been induced 
largely to subscribe, by a promise from its founders that their 
shaies shouid be taken from them at a considerable advance. 
The evil tendency of such institutions was not then as well 
understood as it is now ; b'lt the great body of the yeomanry 
saw and felt, that it was an association in which they conXA 
take no part — a combination of the rich against the poor, con- 
trary to the spirit of equality in which our government had 
originated — aud they looked at its establishment, therefore, as 
an attempt to embarrass and oppress them. Mr. Adams did 
not hesitate an instant to take tlie popular side on this occasion, 
m opposition to all the wealth of Boston, and would perhaps 



« 19 

4 

have succeeded, had-«ll the republicans in the senate been 
equally incorruptible. It is hardly necessary to add, that this 
disinterested and noble conduct, on the part of Mt. Adams, 
excited a powerful clamour against him among the rich spe- 
culators, and tended still further to alienate him fron» the con- 
fidence of the Federal party. TKLL» 



LETTER in. 
To the Editors of the American : 

Gentlemen: The principles which were early instilled into 
the mind of Mr. Adams, both by the precepts and cxamiilc of 
those with whom his youth were passed, in relation to the na- 
tural rights of man, and which are all deducible from our glo- 
rious Df.claratioii of Independence, have never been for a mo- 
ment abandoned or compromised by him, on any question of 
general policy. These principles belong essentially to the 
character of an American. They never were, they never can 
be, the rule of conduct to demagogues, or factious political 
partizans, of any sect or denomination. And those who will 
follow closely, and examnie impartially, the political course of 
Mr. Adams, vviil be able to trace every opinion which he has 
given, to the constant prevalence of these principles; they 
will perceive an invariable consistency in every public expres- 
sion of hjfi sentiments, which we look for in vain among the 
devoted followers or leaders o{ party. Hence it was, that du- 
ring the hve }ears that he continued a member of the United 
States' Senate, he was alternatively claimed by both parties, 
and was sometimes found to stand almost alone, in the main- 
tenance of those fundamental truths, which we proudly boast 
as tbrming the basis of our government, and the assertion of 
which, undoubtedly produced our revolution. It was not 
enough for him, that a proposition, affecting any great national 
interest, originated with this or that party ^ to secure it to his 
support : he examiiied it on the broad ground of principle, and 
opposed or defended it, according to the honest dictates ofva 
judgment unshackled by preconceptions. 

In 1803, the seats of both the United States' Senators, from 
Massachusetts, became vacant — one from the expiration of the 
constitutional term of service, the other from resignation be- 
fore the end of the term. Mr. Adams and Irlr. Pickering 
were elected to these vacancies ; the former for the full term, 
the latter for the unexpired term. Mr. Adams was the candi- 
date of wh'^t was called the liberal party, and Mr. Pickering, 
that of the Essex Junta. They had scarcely taken their seats 
in the Senate, before an opportunity occurred to mark thf; 



20 • 

difference in the political principles of the two men. One of 
the most important questions tliat ever divided the parties, — 
a measure of policy which constitutes the grandest feature in 
the administration of Jefferson, — I mean that on the ratifica- 
tion of the Louisiana Treaty, — had been decided a day or two 
before Mr. Adams reached the seat of government. But the 
measures necessary for carrying it into effect, were still under 
discui»sion ; and, on the question of appropriating the neces- 
sary sum for that purpose, — after aii able and eloquent speech, 
(for an abstract of which the reader is referred to the National 
IntclHgencer of 25th Nov. 1803,) in which he took occasion 
to express his entire assent to the Treaty. Mr. Adams record- 
ed his vote with those ol the republican majority. He had 
been lately accused, indeed, of voting against the bill enabling 
the President to take possession of the territory thus acquired 
by purchase. 1 use the term accused, because, though it is true 
that he did so vote, his motives have been falsely and malig- 
nantly interpreted, in order to shew the subjection of his judg- 
ment, to '"• the pernicious passions,'"' and the incapability of his 
mind "■ to adopt an enlarged and liberal system of policy." — 
The resolutions which Mr. Adams offered to the Senate, 
on that occasion, will shew, that he was as willing and as so- 
licitous, as the administration itself, to admit the people of 
Louisiana to all the rights, privileges, and obligations that be- 
long to citizens of the United States ; but that he was unwil- 
ling io force upon them either prerogatives or duties, against 
their own consent, aiid contrary to the principles of the con- 
stitution. One of these resolutions contained a truism, which 
one would have thought it impojsible for ingenuity or sophis- 
try to evade — namely, that the people of the United States 
have not conterred upon Congress the power to tax the people 
of Louisiana; — but, nevertheless, the decision of the Senate 
implied, that such power had been conferred! 

It will occur af once, to every mind, capable of calm and 
dispassionate reasoriing on this subject, that if there was any 
departure from the principles maintained by our revolution — 
and violation of those rights ivhich have been declared to be 
imprescriptahh and unalienable — tt was in the vote of the ma- 
jority on this occasion, and not in that of Mr. Mdams, whose 
sole object was to provide for the exercise of the same rights 
by the inhabitants of Louisiana, which we have declared to 
belong alike to all niankind, and upon the recognition of which 
our government had been established. But Mr. Adams him- 
self has already ably vindicated his votes on this question, in 
his reply to the unprovoked and wanton attack of a member 
of Congress, from V irginia ; and has satisfactorily shewn to 
the friends of the constitution, and to all who have the hones- 



21 

ty to acknowledge the clanger t)f extending too far the co7i- 
structive powers of that instrument, that his objections were 
founded upon a conscientious adherence to principle in which 
/neither passion nor party feelings had any influence. 

A little incident, however, which occurred during these dis- 
cussions in the Senate, will place in a clearer light than a thou- 
sand comments could do, the just estimation in which the mo- 
tives of Mr. Adams were held by the republican party. After 
the vote had been taken upon Mr. A.'s resolutions, a distin- 
guished member of that party, now deceased, — one who was 
emphatically called the man of the people^ and who was de- 
servedly considered as a model of pure and incorruptible re- 
publicanism, — look occasion to approach Mr. Adams, and in 
the honest warmth of his feelings to say to him — " Your heart 
is right before God ! your principles, and the application of 
them are unquestionable. — and the zoear and tear of conscience 
I have undergone, tirst, and last, on these questions of terri- 
torial governments, is inexpressible P'^ It must surely be un- 
necessary to add another word, in vindication of the integrity 
of Mr. A.'s mutivesf or the consistency of his political jjrin- 
ciples. 

Those who were conversant with the annals of our govern- 
ment, will know, that, from this time, to the year 1 807, no 
question arose in Congress, the decision of which tested the 
strength of the two parties. Genera! Smyth, it is true, in a 
minute and laborious research into the journals of the Senate, 
has discovered a few votes of Mr. Adams in the minority ; — 
but they were chiefly on questions, on which the most active 
friends of the administration were themselves divided ; and on 
some of them, the names of the most distinguished republican 
members will be found in company with that of Mr. Adams. 
The letter of this gentleman, however, above alluded to, "in 
reply to a letter of the Hon. Alexander Smyth to his constitu- 
ents," has so fully answered the objections to all those votes, 
that it would have been a work of supererogation to examine 
the subject anew: I shall therefore merely refer the reader, 
who has any remaining doubts as to the consistency of Mr. 
Adams's subject of great national concern. 

The transactions of the year 1807, soon be forgotten by the 
people of the United States. It was in that year, that the 
flag of our nation was wantonly insulted and violated — that 
our citizens were cruelly womided and murdered, within our 
own dominions, — and ihdii British officers, fresh from the friend- 
ly and hospitable entertainment of our country, committed a 
barbarous and unprecedented outrage, of which no apology, 
no atonement, no time, can wear out the remembrance, and 



22 

which nothing but the divine precepts of the gospel could 
teach us to forgive. On this occasion, when the measures 
which our executive thought proper to adopt, required the 
unanimous and heartv concurrence of all classes of our citi- 
zens, let us see whether the conduct of Mr. Adams resembied 
tl)at of the parly, to which it is now preteijded he belonged. 
When the first news of this lawless aggression reached jBc/iio/j, 
whore Mr. Adams then was, he wailed in person upon the 
" Select Mfii'^ — whose province custom had made it, whenever 
any occasion required ihe expression of the public sentiment, 
to call a toxun metting, — and forcibly represented to them the 
propriety and necessity of exercising their privilege on this 
occasion. They roere Federalists ; and his urgent entreaties, 
his eloquence, his arguments, were addressed to them in vain. 
They vvould not consent to call a meeting of,,the town. — The 
Republicans, in the mean time having also in obedience to the 
custom, tirst solicited the same men for the same object, and 
wiih the like success, took upon themselves to invite the citi- 
zens of Boston and its vicinity to meet together at the State 
House. They did so on the lOtb day of July, and among 
the first that came was John Quincy Adams. Nor was he an 
inactive, silent spectator. He was immediately placed on the 
committee to rt port resolutions expressive of the sense of the 
meeting. And his name will be found, among other distin- 
guished republicans on this committee, associated with that of 
Dr. Charles Jarvis, Benjamin Austin, Dr. Eustis,and others, the 
well-known fathers of democracy in Massachusetts. The re- 
solutions reported, and unanimously adopted by the meeting, 
were published, and may be seen in the papers of the day.-~ 
They were such as did honour to the intelligence and patriot- 
ism of the committee present; and when the Federal select men 
were afterwards compelled^ by the indignant feelings of the 
community, loudly and repeatedly expressed, to call a general 
town meeting, the same resolutions, in substance, were report- 
ed and adopted. At this last meeting John Quincy Adams 
acted as the chairman or moderator. 

Until th(! period just mentioned, the Federal party had con- 
tinued to flatter themselves that Mr. Adams was not wholly 
lost to them. But to see his name publicly associated with 
those of the most active, and of course the most obnoxious, 
demncrals, — at a time, too, when they were seeking to collect 
and rally their forces for a last desperate etibrt to regain their 
ascendency in the councils of the nation, — was not only a 
death-blow to their hopes, but a signal for the conmiencement 
of a bitter persecution against him, which compelled him soon 
after to resiiin the Senatonal seat which he held at their hands. 



23 

Of this resignation, it has been lately snid, by one of the moit 
uniform and honest den)ocrats in our country, that it "was 
g;reeted by the democrats as highly meritorious and truly mag- 
na7iimous : meritorious, because he gave up all connexion with 
a party whose principles he disapproved of — and mait^rianiniocja, 
for his resignation on the sublime republican principle, that a 
representative ought to obey the voice of his constituents, or 
sive them an opportunity of electing another in his place." 

TELL. 



LETTER IV. 

The first session of the Tenth Congress was opened, bv 
Proclamation, on the 26th of October, 1807. The Message 
of the President, which was communicated on the succeeding 
da), was a document of anxious anticipation and high interest. 
It entered fully into the state of our foreign relations, and 
seemed to carry with it a conviction that it would be extreme- 
ly difficult, if not impossible, much longer to maintain our 
peaceful attitude. The session was a busy and important one. 
The defection of one of the most active and elociuent sup- 
porters of the administration, had carried with it a large por- 
tion of the republican party ; and it required the zealous and 
continued co-operation of all the friends of our union and m- 
dtpendcnce, to counteract the two-fold opposition thus created 
against the Executive. 

Of the usual committees, appointed to consider the various 
subjects embraced in the President's communication, the name 
of Mr. Adams will be found oj all the most important. Of 
that on the subject of the outrage on the frigate Chesapeake, 
as likewise of that appointed to consider the further legisla- 
tive provisions necessary for the effectual preservation of the 
peace of the United States, he was the chairman. On every 
question of importance, indeed, it will be found by a recur- 
rence to the chronicles of the time, that Mr. Adams was a 
decided, zealous and able defender of the interests and hon- 
our of his country. 

On the 18th of December, Mr. Jeficrson, by message, re- 
commended the adoption of some immediate and effectual 
measure to secure the safety of our shipping and seamen ; 
and Mr. Adams was one of the committee which soon after- 
wards reported a bill for laying an embargo \\\ all the ports- 
and harbours of the United States. Such a measure as this 
"Was loudly called for; it was the only alternative to open war, 
for which we were wholly unprepared, by which our seamer> 



24 

and merchant vessels could be protected from impressrtienl 
and seizure. It was the measure proposed b) Jefferson him- 
self; and many a bitter sarcasm since thrown out against its 
terrapin like prudence, has marked it emphatically as the Jef- 
fersonian policy. Let us see whether all who now profess to 
be of the Jeffersonian School, to have been uniform, consistent 
democrats, and more particularly whether that candidate for 
the Presidency who is called, by way of pre-eminence, '• <Ae 
democratic candidate," thought or acted with Mr. Jefferson 
at that important crisis. — Mr. Crawford, who had been ap- 
pointed by the state of Georgia, to supply the place in the 
Senate of the United States, vacated by the lamented death 
of Abraham Baldwin, had taken his seat a (ew days before the 
bill, just mentioned, was reported to the Senate. On tlie ques- 
tion of its Jlnal passage, his name will be found in a miuorili/ 
of six, in company with that of Timothy Pickerings and others 
of the Essex Junta school ! while that of Mr. Adams stands 
at the head of the republican majority. On the final passage 
of the bill for fortifying the ports and harbours of the United 
States, on which Mr. Adams, who was one of the committee 
that reported it, again voted with the republican majority, 
Mr. Crawford, after a vain attempt to defeat the bill by the 
introduction of an amendment designating certain limits with- 
in which specified sums should be expended, voted in a mi- 
nority of eleven, in the same good company as before. If the 
Latin adage, noscitur a sociis, be always true, what shall we 
say of the consistency of this gentleman's democracy ? But 
these facts are not related with a view to take from Mr. Craw- 
ford any merit, which may be claimed for him, on the score 
of his having been uniformly republican. I doubt not that he 
has been so, from the commencement of his political life. 
But, as an argument to the contrary might be drawn from 
these facts, at least as strong as any which his advocates have 
adduced against the integrity of Mr. Adams's political prin- 
ciples, they are mentioned merely to remind these gentlemen 
of another trite maxim — that, '* those who live in glass houses, 
ought not to throw stones.''^ — There is not a vote of Mr. Adams 
on record, which manifests such direct and decided hostility 
to any measure of Mr. Jefferson's administration, as these two 
votes of Mr. Crawford : there is not one for which reasons 
tenfold more republican, might not be assigned. And yet the 
motives, of the one have been arraigned, by the very men who 
contend for the exclusive Jeffersonian principles of the other. 
The truth is, that in selecting a President of the United Stales, 
we must look for some less equivocal evidences of capacity 



25 

and fitness, than those furnished by the Journals of Congress. 
Were we to judge by them alone, we should be compelled to 
come to the conclusion, tha> consistency of pt iticipla, and un- 
interrupted attachment to party, are utterly ihCoiii[)atible with 
each other. And surely, he who looks at a question with the 
expansive and liberal views of a national legislator, is more 
tit to be entrusted with the management of a natlori's con- 
cerns, than he who either believes that his parly cd^n never be 
wrong, or bHndly follows it whether right or wrong. What 
human wisdom is there that never erred ? What system of 
policy was ever adopted or invented, that would suit all occa- 
sions ? And is the statesman who adapts his policy to the occa- 
sion, to be accused of apostacy, or abandonment of principle, 
because the view which he may happen to take of a measure, 
at one time, differs from that of the. party with which he may 
happen to act, at another? It seems to me, it would be ex- 
tremely difficult, upon such grounds, to establish the consist- 
ency of any one of the candidates, or of any other honest and 
enlightened politician. The same majority that refused to 
rc-charter the old Bank of the United States, on the ground 
of the anti republican and pernicious influence of such insti- 
tutions, gave creation to a new one of thrice more gigantic 
form and power ; and one of the most strenuous advocates of 
this tremendous macinne, was Mr. Calhoun, another uniform 
and consistent republican. The most intelligent portion of 
the community, of all parties, would probably have no scru- 
ples now to acknowledge, that the majority were wrong in both 
these measures. Had the old bank been re-chartered, many 
years of pecuniary distress would have been avoided ; and 
had the new one never been instituted, our country, perhaps, 
would have suifered less from the disgrace of corrupt and 
fraMdulent speculation. 

Having thus followed Mr. Adams nearly to the close of his 
service in the Senate of the United States, 1 shall conclude 
this letter, and this part of my subject, with a few brief ex- 
tracts from his "Letter to the Hon. Harrison Gray Otis," of 
the 31st March, 1808, written with a view to vindicate to his 
constituents, the course he had pursued on the subjects of the 
Embargo, and the differences in controversy between our coun- 
try and Great Britain. It was in reply to a letter from Timo- 
thy Pickering to the Governor of Massachusetts, intended, as 
Mr. Adams says, for communication to the Legislature, and, 
therefore to be regarded in the nature of an appeal to their 
constituents, and to the people at large. " To both these tri- 
bunals (says Mr. A.) I shall always hold myself accountable 
D 



26 

for every act of my public life." After urging some objec- 
tions to the sort of appeal made by Mr. Pickering, Mr. A. re- 
marks : " It is not through the medium of personal sensibi- 
lity, nor of party bias, nor of professional occupation, nor of 
geographical position that the zohole truth can be discerned, of 
questions involving the rights and interests of this extensive 
Union, When their discussion is urged upon a state legisla- 
ture, the first call upon its members should be to cast all their 
fe< lings and interests as citizens of a single state, into the com- 
mon stock of the national concern. 

In reply to the federal slander, that the embargo owed its 
origin to secret corruption, and terror of Napoleon, Mr. Adams 
savs : " These are fictions oi foreign invention. The French 
Emperor had not declared that he would have no neutrals. 
He had 7iot required that our ports should be shut against 
British commerce : But the orders of Council, if submitted 
to, would have degraded us to the condition of colonies : if 
resisted, would have fattened the wolves of plunder with our 
spoils. The embargo was the only shelter from the tempest — 
the last refuge of our violated peace." — After some unan- 
swerable arguments against the rule of war adopted by Great 
Britain, he goes on to say : " I am not the apologist of France 
and Spain ; I have no national partialities ; no national attach- 
ments but to my own country. I shall never undertake to 
justify or to palliate the insults or injuries of any foreign pow- 
er to that country which is dearer to me than life. If the 
voice of reason and of justice could be heard by France and 
Spain, they would say — you have done wrong to make the 
injustice of } our enemy towards neutrals the measure of your 
own. If she chastises with whips, do not you chastise with 
scorpions. Whether France would listen to this language, I 
know not. The most enormous infractions of our rights hither- 
to committed by her, have been more in menace than in ac- 
com})lishnient. The alarm has been justly great; the antici- 
pation threatening; but the amount of actual injury small. — 
But to Britain, what can we say ? If we attempt to raise our 
voices, her minister has declared to Mr. Pmckney that she 
will not hear. The only reason she assigns for her recent 
orders of Council is, that France proceeds on the same prin- 
ciple. It is not by the light of blazing temples, and amid the 
groans of women and children perishing in the ruins of the 
siincluaries of domestic habitation at Copenhagen, that we 
can expect our lemonstrances against this course of proceed- 
ing will be heard." 



27 

My limits will not allow me to make further extract?. But 
I wish the whole letter could be published, and republished, 
in every paper in the Union. It would convince the people 
of the United States, that he who could utter such sentiments 
could never have been a demagogue ^ — could never have be- 
longed to parli/ ,' and that what Mr. Adams now professes to 
be, he has been at all times of his political life — a real Jmt- 
rican, a true republican in heart and principle, in practice as 
well as in theory. TELL. 



LETTER V. 

To the Editors of the American. 

Mr. Adams resigned his seat in the Senate of the United 
States, nearly a year before the end of his constitutional term 
of service. The course which he had pursued while in that 
body, it has been seen was too republican, to give satisfaction 
to his federal constituents ; and they had passed certain reso- 
lutions, designed to operate as inslruclions to their Senators, 
the tenour of which Mr. Adams thought irreconcilable with 
the existing state of atiairs. The same principles, however, 
which had governed every political act of his life, are mani- 
fested in his resignation. For, while he proved his determin* 
ation to maintain his own independence, by refusing to act in 
conformity with such instructions, he at the same time gave 
evidence of his recognition of theirright to instruct ttieir re- 
presentatives, by affording them an immediate opportunity of 
electing a more congenial one in his place. 

His resignation may be regarded, as one of the most com- 
plete and perfect illustrations of political consistency that ever 
was exhibited. There is, indeed, scarcely another example 
of the kind on record. Other representatives, it is true, have 
acknowledged the right of their constituents to control their 
votes — have bowed to the will of the majority ; but in doing 
so, they have shown either that they had no fixed principles 
of their own, or that they were ready to sacrilice both them 
and their consciences at the shrine of popularity. Politicians, 
in general, are too apt to regard the obligations of morality 
as subservient to the temporary policy of party. A dis-lin- 
guishing trait in the character of Mr. Adams,on the contrary, 
is that he acts always upon the principle, that moral ami polit- 
ical integrity is one indivisible virtue, the obligations of which 
are paramount under every circumstance of application. No 
devotion to party, no hope of poUtical advancement, could 
ever induce him to violate his sense of moral rectitude, Wc 



28 

hdvc seen him, therefore, while in the Senate of tlic United 
States, pursuing the stiaightpathof duty — turning neither to the 
right hand nor to the left — flattering no party by a bhnd and in- 
discriminate adoption of all its measures — and becoming the 
able advocate, or the dauntless antagonist, of every proposi- 
tion according as it tended, in his unbiassed judgment, to pro- 
mote or to injure, the honour or interest of the nation. Can it 
be doubted, that the concerns of a nation would be safer un- 
der the guardianship of such a man, than under that of a sec- 
retary in politics, a devotee of party ? 

But, " political consistency" is every thing, cry the advo- 
cates of all the othtr candidates — " We must have a Presi- 
dent who has been uniformly rcpnblican — who voted for the 
election of Jetferson — who supported /tv? administration, and 
who has been the constant friend of Madison and Monroe." 
Be it so ; I am willing to agree that we ought to have a Presi- 
dent " who has been uniformly republican,"'' and who support- 
ed the administration of Jelferson, IMadison, and Monroe- — 
But let us compare the pretensions of the several candidates 
upon these grounds. We have seen that Mr. Adams has been 
" uniformly republican." We have seen that he was abrbad 
in a ministerial capacity, at the period of Mr. Jefferson's elec- 
tion, but that he did support ''his administration" in all its 
most important measures; and that he opposed it only on 
points of constitntional construction, where its warmest friends 
might honestly ditfer in opinion. That he was an advocate of 
the war, and that he was the friend and supporter of Mr. Mad- 
ison, throughout the whole of his administration, is abundant- 
ly proved, by his votes and speeches in the Senate, by his let- 
ter to Mr. Otis, and by his having been appointed to, and con- 
tniued in, by Mr. Madison, some of the most important nego- 
tiations in which this country was ever engaged. That he has 
been the constant, firm, and efficient supporter of the present 
administration, I shall take occasion hereafter to show. 

Mr. Crawford, there is no reason to doubt, voted for the 
election of Mr. .Teirerson. But it has been seen, that, during 
the short period of his Senatorial service under that adminis- 
tration, on two occasions, he united with its bitterest enemies m 
opposing measures, which were regarded as of vital impor- 
tance to the safety and interests of the country — I mean the 
embar(ro, and the fortifying our ports and harbours. " Call 
you that backing your friends ? A plague upon such back- 
ing." ITuder Mr. Madison's administration, Mr. Crawford 
not only gave his vote to recharter the old Bank of the Uni- 
ted Slates — a measure in direct opposition to the republican 
l^olicy, but took an active and vindenl part in the discussion oi 



29 

ihe question, indirectly denying to the people the right of in- 
structing their representatives, and denouncing those States, 
which had expressed an opinion, as actuated by axarice and 
the love vf domination. In the debates on the question of 
war, on the contrary, Mr. Crawford took no part, but sat a si- 
lent listener, not once opening his lips to utter a single argu- 

. ment in support of the Declaration. \?, ihx?, rejmblicanism :' 
Is ih\A political consistency ? VV^ith regard to the present ad- 
ministration, Mr. Crawford's opposition commenced even he.- 

fore the election oi Mr. Monroe. He was a rival candidate^. 
and it would be sinning against all experience of human na- 
ture to beiieve, that defeat could change his hostility into sin- 
cerity of friendship. Until lately, indeed, his opposition ha.-i 
been open and avowed ; but it has been found that Mr. Mon- 
roe dwells so securely in the people's love and veneration, 
that their favour is not to be purchased by oppugnation to 
him — and the feelings that were before avowed, are now dis- 
guised. If this is doubted, let the public papers, and the 
public men, who have been constant in their support of Mr. 
Crawforfl for the last six years, be consulted. 

Let us now apply the same tests to Mr. Calhoun. At the 
time of Mr. Jefferson's election, he was 7iot of legal age to 
vote. Upon this point, then, he stands on no better ground- 
than Mr. Adams, who was not in the country. He did not en- 
ter into public life until after Mr. Jefterson had retired. What- 
ever might have been his feelings or sentiments, therefore, it is 
certainhe could havegivenno ^^/^/fci'en/supportto the administra- 
tion of Mr. Jefferson. In this, then, though he stands on better 
ground than Mr. Crawford, he must lose in the comparison with 
Mr. Adams. He was elected to Congress during the administra- 
tion of Mr. Madison ; and it affords me pleasure to acknowl- 
edge, that he was for the most part a zealous and able champ- 
ion of that administration. On one occasion, however, if on 
no more, it has been seen that he forgot the policy of Jeffer- 
son and of Madison, abandoned the great republican interests, 
and stood forth the active partisan of stock-jobbers and mo- 
ney-lenders. His interest, his eloquence, and his influence, 
were all exerted to give existence to the new Bank of the 
United States — an institution which every plain and consider- 
ate republican, regards as a fearful engine of aristocracy, and 
as tending directly to the subversion of that purity and sim- 
plicity, which form the leading features of our constitution 
and government. That Mr. Calhoun has been the steady 
friend of the present administration, I admit with pleasure. 
Jlut so also has Mr. Adams been ; and it remains to be sb'^wn 



30 

whether, upon this ground, his claims to the support of the 
people, are stronger than those of the latter gentleman. This 
comparison will be further extended in due time. 

With respect to Mr. Clay : it may be said, that like Mr. 
Calhoun, he did not come into public life, until after Mr. 
Jeflbrson had retired from the helm of affair*: for, though 
he was in the Senate for one Session, namely, ia06 7, 
the subject on which he was engaged were, for the most part, 
of a local and domestic nature, involving no party question, 
and requiring no expression ot feeling towards the adminis- 
tration. The claims of these two gentlemen, therefore, are 
in this respect, equal ; and both are of younger date thaa 
those of either Mr. Crawford or Mr. Adams. It is evident, 
that neither can make pretensions to the support of the peo- 
ple, on the favourite ground of adherence tp the maxims and 
policy of Jefferson's administration. Under the succeeding 
administration, Mr. Clay came again into Congress 5 and 
proved himself not only one of its most active, bat one of its 
most constant supporters. It is ffir from my purpose to ques- 
tion his republican principles. His talents are brilliant; his 
attainments rich and varied ; the character of his mind is 
great and lofty ; and his eloquence is luminous, fascinating, 
and powerful. To whatever party such a man attached him- 
self, he could not fail to be useful. But will it be said, that 
this splendid Orator has been the constant friend, the uni- 
form supporter, of the present administration ? lias he not, 
on occasions deeply involving the interests of the nation, 
evinced the most decided hostility to the wise and prudent 
policy of Mr. Monroe ? Has he not sometimes used the high 
power and influence of his station, to the great embarrassment 
of the operations of government ? We shall hnd answers to 
these questions in the various reports of Commitltes^ selected 
by him. In some of these, we shall not only discover strong 
expressions of opposition to the Executive, but find also ma- 
ny sarcastic sneers against a policy, which every consideration 
of prudence recommended, and which subsequent events have 
shewn to have been v^ell devised. I would not argue from this, 
that Mr. Clay has ever deserted hi? party, or abandoned liis prin- 
ciples ; or that he has ever been other than a pure, disinter- 
ested, and zealous republican. But surely the friends of this 
gentleman, as well as those of Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Craw- 
lord, who build their hopes of the people's favour, upon the 
ground of unshaken devotion to the three republican admin- 
istrations, will be compelled to acknowledge, that tlie claims 
of Mr. Adams are, in this regard, at least of egual validity. 



3i 



Those who are yet unprejudiced, wlio exnmine and compare 
only for the sake of trulh, will perhaps discover, that even on 
this chosen ground, he occupies the most commanciin^ hciijht. 

TELL. 



LETTER VI. 



L 



In the brief examination of the comparative pretensions of 
the several candidate?, on the grounds quoted in my former 
letter, I purposely omitted the name of General Jackson., for 
several reasons. In the first place, I do not believe that he 
seriously entertains a wish to be President of the United States, 
or that his friends have any hope of advancing him to that 
high dignity. In the second place, I feel so enthusiastic a 
veneration {ov his military character, that I am unwilling to 
run the hazard, by too close an investigation of his other qual- 
ities, of losing any portion of my own respect for him, or of 
weakening the hold which he now most deservedly has on the 
love and gratitude of the people. We owe to General Jack- 
son all that can be due to the soldier. It was his heroism, 
during the late war, that turned the current of disaster which 
had nearly overwhelmed us. He it was, who raised our fallen 
glory from the dust, and gave new life and hope to his de- 
sponding country. B\it,non omnia possumus omnes : the hero 
in war, does not always prove to be the best leader in peace. 
The daring intrepidity which constitutes the brightest trait in 
the character of a soldier, might lead to ruinous consequences 
if displayed in the conduct of a statesman. The two charac- 
ters are essentially distinct; and the qualities that might exalt 
the one to fame and honour, might plunge the other into con- 
tempt and disgrace. The true policy of our government is 
peace : and this perhaps would be always more surely main- 
tained, by having a Chief Magistrate whose title to that high 
distinction rests upon other ground than military pre-eminence. 
Leaving out of the comparison, then, the victor of Welling- 
ton's invincihles, 1 think it must be acknowledged, upon a 
careful and candid review of the public lives of the other can- 
didates mentioned — so far as co'nsisltncy of principle, and uni- 
form republicanism, are concerned — that the pretensions of 
John Quincy Adams, are more substantial than those of any 
of his competitors. His enemies, indeed — the enemies alike 
of all liberal and expanded sentiment — have made a gross at- 
tempt to be witty at the idea of his " republican education and 
nurture ;" — they have sneered at i\\e principles of his father ! 
and have laboured, with the unhallowed zeal of faction, to 



32 

cover with odium tJjc declining days of a patriot, whose vigour 
of lifo-Avas spent in contriving and securing the independence 
we now enjoy. To no single individual wlio bore a part in 
the revolution, do the people of the United States owe more 
for the blessing of free government, than to the venerable fa- 
ther of John Quincy Adams. The truth of this is to be found 
in every hirtory of the time ; it will be acknowledged by every 
contemporary patriot which still survives. lie was among the 
first of his countrymen to proclaim resistance to the oppressive 
demands of the British, ministry ; and his talents, zeal, and in- 
fluence, were uninlerrupltdly exerted to rouse the spirit of in- 
dependence throughout the colonies. Could the "education 
and nurture" of the son of such a man, be other than " re- 
publican ?" Couid such a father^ while he was hazarding 
fortune, fame, and life itself, in support of liberty and inde- 
pendence, instil into the mind of his son, principles adverse 
to the natural rights of man ? Could any youth, brought up 
■within the domestic circle of such men as Samuel Adams, Jo- 
siah Quincy, and John Hancock, fail to imbibe a portion of that 
manly spirit of freedom which moved, animated, and prompt- 
ed their every thought and action ? Who will dare to claim 
the merit of " republican education and nurture," if it be de- 
nied to John Quincy Adams? But I beg pardon of my coun- 
trymen for descending to notice a sneer so vile and maliciuus. 
No American could have uttered it, and none, I trust, will be 
found to give it countenance. Who would have believed, that 
those who make so much clamour about " political consisten- 
cy," should be the very men to recur, on all occasions, to the 
principles o[ the father, in esiimating the merits of the son? 
1 had thought that it was the boast of this happy country, that 
€very man in it was the artificer of his own honour or shame ; 
that neither dignities nor qualities, vices nor virtues, were he- 
reditary. But these self styled republicans, the pseudo friends 
of our revolutionary maxim, that '* all men are created equal," 
with an incongruity which nothing can reconcile, while they 
deny to Mr. Adams the inheritance of his father's virtues, 
which a// acknowledge, would make him the heir of his politi- 
cal sins, which are such only in the eyes of party. If he is to 
be punished for the one, by what rule of justice is it, that he 
should not be rewarded for the other ? 

Besides " that he was educated a federalist," it is alleged 
against 3Ir. Adams, that he " is still a federalist in principle." 
If this term be here used in its true and original sense, I an- 
swer, that if he were 7iot " a federalist in principle,'''' he would 
be unfit to administer the concerns of ^ federal government. — 



33 

In the same sense are Jefferson and Madison federalists ; anci 
some of the ablest pohtical papers thatever were written, art; 
from the pen of the latter, under the openly and proudly 
avoxoed name of" federalist.'' h (here any American who re- 
veres the constitution of hi?> country, w"ho comprehends the 
principle of our union, whoisr«ofa "federalists^" The wor- 
shipper of Mahomet, might with less absurdity of paradox, call 
himself a christian. Butif the term be used in its contracted 
joar/i/ acceptation, and meant to signify exactly the reverse of 
what it literally imports, 1 have already answered the objec- 
tion by showing that Mr. Adams has never been a party poli- 
tician — and what he never has been, it is worse than absurd to 
say that he is sfllL 

It is urged further against Mr. Adams, " that he is irritable, 
and by no moans courteo^is in his manner and address." The 
ground of the first part of this charge is, that he does not si- 
lently submitto be abused ; that he condescends, on occasion, 
to repel the unprovoked attack of his enemies, and stands 
forth, in his own name, to defend that name, from vile, un- 
founded and malignant slanders. If, to show an indignant sense 
of injury or insult — to be prompt to defend himself from rude 
assault — be evidence of irritability, it will not be denied, " that 
he is irritable." But such is the irritability of every honest 
man : it is the universal concomitant of conscious probity and 
virtue ; and not to show it, on all proper occasions, would ar- 
gue either the most consummate vanity, or the most despica- 
ble meanness. — Mr. Adams is equally far from both. The se- 
cond part of the objection, that he is " by no means courteous 
in his manners and address," is almost too puerile and ridicu- 
lous to be noticed ; but, nevertheless, it may be well to unde- 
ceive those who, knowing Mr. Adams only by report, have been 
taught to behevehim an unpolished savage, I shall certainly 
not contend that he is either a Petit maitre or a Dandy; or 
that he belongs to the still more modern race of the Corinthian 
or the Exquisite. He does not trim his mouth to the perpetu- 
al smile, nor discipline his head to the ready bow of the sy- 
chophant. He does not bely his candour, by expressing an 
unfelt delight at the intrusion of every impertinent or curious 
visiter; but still less does he assume the haughty, supercilious, 
condescending air of vain superiority. His " manners" are 
formal indeed, but neither awkward nor uncivil ; and though 
his "address" may strike the casual observer as cold and re- 
pulsive, those who seek him further, will discover an anima- 
tion in his eye, a warmth of feeling in his countenance and 
language, that prove his heart to be " courteous/' whatever 



34 

may be the external indications. Sincerity speaks in evek 
action, too plainly to be misinterpreted ; and that should l/e 
regarded, among /)/ai?i republicans at least, as a virtue of more 
worth, than the courtesy which teaches the tongue to utter 
what the heart denies. 

It is said, in addition, "that his coldness of disposition will 
prevent him from attaching to himself any friends. The fact, 
that he has attached to himself many friends, is sufficient an- 
swer to this objection. But there is, in truth, no coldness in 
bis disposition ; and those who accuse him of it, forget that, 
they charge him at the same time with irritability of temper : 
for the-^eare two incongruous qualities, which were never found 
united in the same mental organization. The coldness com- 
plained of is altogether in exterior ; and the friends who are 
attached by that, are seldom worth retaining. The innerman 
is composed of all the kindlier feelings that ennoble human 
nature — a warm and active benevolence, expansive charitj', 
and an honest ingenuousness that knows no deception, that 
admits no suspicion. The friends of integrity and truth, will 
always be the friend of such a man. 

The last objection brought against Mr. Adams is " that he 
is not fitted for a practical politician." This, if well fou7ided, 
would of itself have sufficed to exclude Mr. Adams from all 
consideration, as a candidate for the Presidency. It has been 
so much {he fashion, however, for those who know not how to 
deny the profound wisdom and sagacity of the Secretary of 
State, to aim at destroying the etFect of thek unwilling acknow- 
legement, by representing him as a theorist, that I doubt not, 
upon examination, this objection will be found, like all the rest, 
invidious and unsubstantial. So far as we have already had 
occasion to look into the political acts of Mr. Adams, they seem 
to have been founded upon a %oun^ practical knowledge. Let 
us now see what has been his conduct in the wider field of di- 
plomacy. For this purpose it will be necessary to take a brief 
review of the state of public afiairs in Europe, at the period 
of Mr. Adams's mission to Russia. TELL. 



LETTER VII. 

To the Editors of the Baltimore American. 

Gentlemen : One of your correspondents, who calls him- 
self " A Friend to Truth," in your paper of the 28th June, 
has accused me of making an unwarrantable assertion, in re- 
lation to the vote of Mr. Crawford, on the bill (or fortifying 
the ports and harbours <f the United States. 



'The ut-banity of manner and courtesy of style, used hy this 
writer, entitle him to respectful notice ; and Imu&t ask your per- 
mission to interrupt, for a little, the regular course of my sub- 
j^ect, in order to reply to his accusation. 1 profess to be as 
much a friend to truth, as your correspondent who so styles 
himself; and should regard my letters as much more worthy 
to be cast into the flames than ottered to your columns, if I 
thought they contained a single assertion not founded in flict, 
era single reflection that could lead to false or unjust conclu- 
sions with regard to the character of any one of the candi- 
dates. Truth alone has been the end and object of my inves- 
tigations : it is the cynosure by which my whole course has 
been directed; and when its radiance shall cease to illumine 
my path, 1 shall be the first to warn my fellow citizens agamst 
the danger of further pursuing my guidance. 

Speaking of the bill above alluded to, your correspondent 
has said, that it "was a preparation for an expected war, and 
ought not to have been opposed by any man zoho was a friend t» 
his country.'''' This isa much bolder assertion than I should have 
felt myself justified in making ; particularly as it leads to the 
inference, that no man who voted against any preparation for 
the war, could have been a friend to his country. Now, the 
Embargo was a preparatory measure, a most essential prelim- 
inary, growing out of the same expectation of war, and pro- 
duced by the same train of aggressions; and yet it has not 
been denied — indeed it cannot be denied — that Mr. Craw- 
ford voted against that, in every stage of its progress through 
the Senate. Why should it excite surprise, that he who voted 
against the fir«t measure of preparation, should vote also against 
the second ? His motives, for either vote, have not been ar- 
raigned by me. They may have been pure and patriotic. But 
it is very certain, these votes did not correspond with the 
views of Mr. Jefferson on those subjects, and that they zoere 
in exact accordance with those of the opposition, in both Houses 
of Congress, which had just then been organized against the 
administration, and which owned for its leader a very distin- 
guished member from Virginia, who to this day maintains the 
ground which he then assumed. 

But your correspondent goes on to say, in contradiction of 
my statement, that the bill for fortifying the ports and har« 
hours of the United States, " met with no opposition zohatever 
as to its principle.'''' There may, perhaps, be some hidden 
meaning attached to this word " principle," which 1 am una- 
ble to penetrate, and which may bear out your correspondent 
in his bold assertion ; bnt to common understanding's, it is ea- 



36 

?ily rnaile evident," that the biil was opposed even '' as to its 
principle." By recurring to the act as it linally passed, (vol. 
;■{, p 131, chap. Ill, of the Laws of the United States,) it 
will he found that its objects and purposes were, to oi^^/ion^e 
the President '' to cause such of the f or tif. cations heretofore 
built or commenced, as he may deem necessary, to be repaired 
or completed, and such other fortifications and works to be 
erected as will afford more effectual protection to our forts 
and harbours," &c. for the accomplishment of which objects 
and purposes, the sum of one million of dollars was appro- 
priated. Was it " no opposition" to the principle of this act, 
in the tirst place, to propose to strip the President of the dis- 
cretionary authority which it gave him, and in the second 
place, to render the complete execution of it impracticable 
by apportioning the sum to limits within which it could not be 
expended for the purposes intended? How, for example, 
could the President cause the fortifications heretofore built or 
commenced "• within the Delaware Bay and river, Jersey and 
New York" to be repaired or completed, if half the sum re- 
quired for that object, were ordered to be " laid out and ex- 
pended" "within the states of Georgia, North and South Car- 
olina ?" The very excuse oifered by " a Friend to Truth" 
for the amendment proposed by Mr. Crawford, is an evidence 
of his opposition to the principle of the bill. He tells us it 
was botton»ed on the principle recommended by Mr. Jeffer- 
son, viz — " To make your appropriations specif c wherever the 
objects can be sptxified.''^ The objects of the appropriation in 
this case, we have seen, were to repair or complete fortifica- 
tions already built or commenced, and to erect such other 
fortifications and works as should afford more effectual pro- 
tection to our ports and harbours. Was ever appropriation 
more specific ? Or could the objecti be more clearly specified? 
But, nevertheless, says your correspondent, " Mr. Cravvford, 
by this amendment, showed his good sense and friendship to 
the principles of the bill." Was it by refusing to trust the 
expenditure of this million, to the discretion and patriotism of 
Mr. Jiferson — the man for whom he professed to feel so great 
a veneration as to make it a matter of conscience to obey even 
Ins rr commendation — that he " showed his sood sense .^" Was 
it by seekitig to load it with unnecessary restrictions and geo- 
gra|)hical limitations thai he displayed his ^^ friendship to the 
principles of the bill?'''' No, no, ! repeat it, Mr. Crawford 7oas 
opposed to the bill ; the design of his amendment was obvi- 
ously to prevent its passage ; and this was well uiiderstood at 
the time by th<^ friends of the administration. Indeed it is not 
possible to look at the Law, and the amendment or proviso 



'31 . , 

offered by Mr. Crawford, without perceiving, that if "the latter had 
prevailed, the purposes of the former miist have been defeated. ■ 

But it is said, that I ought not to have " made the broad asser- 
tion that Mr. Crawford did vote against the bill" (meaning on ita 
fiual passage) without being " able to show the fact from the ayes 
and nays." Your correspondent had no doubt " examined the 
journals of the Senate," and convinced himself that the ayes and 
nays had not been recorded, when he so peremi»torily adds, that 
" no olher testimony, could have justified" me " in making such a 
charge" — for, says he, in the same authoritative tone, " had there 
been any effort against the bill, the ayes and nays would ca'tainly 
have been taken.'' — There never was a clearer non ,scquiUir, as 
the history of legislative proceedings will abundantly show. No- 
thing is more common than for a bill to pass after its third reading 
•without a call for the yeas and nays, even though it may have 
been most vigorously opposed during its earlier progress; and it 
seldom happens, that the opinions of the members are changed in 
the passage from one reading to another. This would be to sup- 
pose an effect fiora the speeches of members, very different from 
that which they generally produce, and a fickleness of judgment 
not very honourable to their sagacity. It is enough that the yeas 
and nays are taken in any stage of a bill, so definite in its objects 
as the one under consideration, to show who are its opposers. 
Now, that Mr. Crawford's name appears in a minority of 1 1 on 
the question of his amendment, "■ the journals of the Senate" will 
show; and, that this amendment was an " effort against the bill,'''' 
— was substantially an opposition ^'- to the principles of the bill,"—^ 
must, I think, be acknowledged by all who examine the subject 
Avilh the single view of arriving at the truth. Moreover, if " Mr. 
Crawford's amendment was bottomed," as it is alleged in his ex- 
cuse it was, on principle, if he did not continue firm to the last — 
if he did not persist in opposing the unamended bill — then was he 
not only inconsistent with himself, but unjust to his constituents 
and country. If he did not vote against the final passage of the 
bill, then must he have abandoned his principles, and voted against 
his own judgment and consciousness of right ; and 1 care not upoa 
which horn of the dilemma, his friends may choose to impale him. 

But these two questions of the embargo d^nAfortijicaiions, were 
not the only occasions, that occurred during the same session, oa 
which Mr. Crawford differed in opinion with Mr. Jefferson, and 
the republican majority. If I had been dis[)osed to pursue the sub- 
ject of his " uniform republicanism,'''' or had sought to give curren- 
cy and support to the charge of former federalism, which some of 
his opponents have brought against him, I might have turned to 
his vote on the bill for extending the rights of the suffrage in the 
Mississippi territory. Here the yeas and nays were taken ; and 
" the journals of the Senate" show us Mr, Crawford's name in a 
minority of eighty against the passage of this republican measure. 
A '■'democratic republican,'^ refuse to give extension to the right of 
suffrage'. What will the great mass of people, who own no foot of 



3B 

land, say to tbiB ' But I furbear to enlarge upon the inference 
fairly deducilile from these votes. My only {uirpose in having men- 
tioned his name at all, was to show, that he had no better preten- 
sions to the character ot political consistency, than Mr. Adams; 
and this has been abnndanlly accomplished. The whole public 
career of (he latter gentleman, from the year 1794 to the present 
|KM iod, does not furnish as many instances of inconsistency, or as 
many evidences of anti-republican principles, as the journal of a 
single session of (he Senate will prove in Mr. Crawford. What h 
U (hen which endtles him to (he exclusive appellation of </ie demo- 
cratic candidate, the Jeffcrsonian politician ? I desire not to build 
up the pretensions of Mr. Adams, liy seeking to i)ull down those 
of any other candidate; on the contrary it is by comparison with 
(he blithest claims which can be raised upon a foundation of truth, 
that I shall prove his title to the support of the people. TELL. 



LETTER VIII. 

GENTLEMEN : In the conclusion of my sixth letter, it was remark- 
ed that, in order to understand the nature and value of Mr. Adams's 
diplomatic services, it would be necessary to take a brief review of 
the political state of Europe, as connected with our own country, at 
the period of his mission to Russia, in the character of Minister 
Plenipotentiary. I shall endeavour to be as little tedious as the ne- 
cessity of recurring to facts which have already become matters of 
historical record will permit me to be, and shall content myself with 
touching upon those points only which are deemed essential to the 
illustration of my subject. 

Mr. Madison, ill his inaugural address, delivered upon the occa- 
sion of his tirst election to the Presidency, on the 4th of March, 
1809, thus strongly marks the character of the time : " The pre- 
sent situation of the world is indeed xcithuut a parallel; and that of 
our own country full of dilHculdcs.'" Adverting to the conduct of 
the belligerent powers of Europe, he goes on to say : " In their 
rage against each other, or impelled by more direct motives, prin- 
ciples of retaliation have been introduced, equally contrary to uni- 
versal reason and acknowledged law." The repeated violations, by 
Great Britain, of all the established principles of national law, dur- 
ing her long and obstinate contest against the revolutionary govern- 
ments of Franco, had indeed finally driven the latter to adopt a 
system of retaliation, the effect of which was to impose so many 
vexatious restrictions upon neutral commerce, as almost to exclude 
it from the common high-way of nations. Instead of the usual and 
only legal delinilion ot" blockade, namely, that particular ports must 
\)e'actually i7ivested, and previous warning given to vessels bound 
to (hern not to enter, those two great rival powers seemed to con 
tend with each other who could set most at defiance all rule of con- 
struction; and etl'ecting to regard actual and competent force as un- 



S9 

necessary, they had resorted to the more summary and less expen- 
sive mode ot orders and decrees. By this simple process, exlensivc 
coasts were put under astute of blockade, even from the date ot" the 
Order or Decree, and frequently when the application ofan adequate 
force to maintain it would have been wholly impracticable. Tliesc 
paper blochudes, however, (as they have been called) so far as 
France was concerned, were not productive of much serious 
evil to the commerce of the United States, and would, perhaps, from 
the great inferiority of her naval force, have remained wholly in- 
operative, but for the introduction of what was denominated " the 
continental system." 

The grand object which the French Emperor sought to accom- 
plish by this sweeping system, was the entire exclusion of Britisli 
productions and manufactures from all the countries under his in- 
fluence. He thus hoped to strike a mortal blow at the only vulner- 
able point of his enemy's prosperity ; and the more eflectually to 
secure its full operation, new restrictions were imposed upon neu- 
tral commerce, and stfll narrower limits assigned to the trade of na- 
tions at peace. Neutral vessels were declared liable to seizure and 
condemnation, rot only for having on board articles of the growth 
or manufacture of Great Britain or her colonies, but lor having un- 
der any circumstances, touched at a Biitish port, or suffered, volun- 
tarily or otherwise, the visit of a British ship of war. Under such 
various and cunningly devised prohibitions, it was hardly possible 
for neutral vessels to navigate the ocean, with any hope of safety- 
All the great powers in alliance or amity with France had already 
been induced to accede to her views ; and the necessary conse- 
quence was, that American vessels were every where detained 
upon the most frivolous pretexts, and the property of our enterpris- 
ing citizens was seized and confiscated, upon the slightest ground of 
suspicion. 

1 o render our commerce still more precarious, and the interrup- 
tions to a legal authorized, neutral trade still more vexatious, Bri- 
tish commercial speculators had resorted to the practice of person- 
ating Americans; and to this end, a shop was opened in London, of 
publicjiotoriety, for the fabrication and sale of all the required pa- 
pers and documents. British property, under the cover of this fal.«e 
documentation, thus found its way into every port with which neu- 
trals were permitted to trade. The detection of the simulated do- 
cuments in one instance, naturally induced suspicion in every case .; 
and bona fide Americans, in the pursuit of a lawful irade, were com- 
pelled on this account to incur such enormous expenses, by deten- 
tion and judicial investigation, as frequently to swallow up all the 
profits of the voyage, even when the property has been ultimately 
released, upon proof of its genuine American character. 

Our ministers at the courts of Paris and London, had respectively 
appealed in vain to the justice of the two sovereigns, by whose col- 
lision all the obligations of international law had been successfully 
broken down, and the rights of neutral nations iramplo>l upon and 



'# 



40 

-almost anniljilatecl. Ever}' argument which could be drawn froth 
reason, common sense, common honesty, and the custom of centu- 
ries, had been urged in vair) to induce these beUigerents to reTin- 
quish their unjust and absurd pretensions. A ridiculous question of 
etiquette, as to priority o( aggression and retaliation, withheld both 
France and England from niitking the first step towards aji acknow- 
ledgement of wrong ; and the wrong itself continued to grow upon 
our forbearance. 

The Emperor of Russia, who had taken all occasions to manifest 
his friendl} disposition towards neutral powers, and who had more 
than once declared his determination to protect neutral commerce, 
was at length brought to lend himself to the views of Napoleon. — 
Being at war with Great Britain, it became his policy to join in the 
Continental system ; and his ships of war and cruizers received, 
and acted upon, the same instruction, with regard to neutral vessels, of 
which they had so much reason to complain as coming from the other 
belligerents. The Russian trade had been the chief inducement to 
the illicit practices of the British merchants ; it was principally for 
this that they had put on the American character; and as the Lon- 
don forgeries were so well executed as to render it difficult, in many 
instances, even for our own officers to detect them, it is not won- 
derful that American vessels were subjected to all the inconvenien- 
ces of suspicion in the friendly ports of the Russian Autocrat. 

The important rank which Russia held among the powers of the 
Continent, the extensive induence which her position enabled her 
to exert, and the high character of her sovereign, conspired to ren- 
der her acquiescence essential to the successful operation of any 
general system of policy, for the government of the continental 
powers. So long as Russia could be persuaded to act in subser- 
vience to, or in unison with, the views of France, Napoleon could 
have nothing to fear from the unrelenting hostility of England. It 
was a matter of importance to him, therefore, to keep at the court of 
St. Petersburgh, a representative in whose diplomatic experience 
and sagacity he could confide. At the period to which I have re- 
ferred, his embassador to Russia was the Duke of Vicenza, Caulin- 
court, a name too well known in the annals of diplomacy, «s well 
as in the military history of the French empire, to require that any 
thing should be added. 

The petty powers of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, were all 
united in the Continental league ; and there was scarcely a port in 
the Baltic which did not exhibit evidence of the wide spread devas- 
tation committed on American commerce. 

Such was the state of our foreign relations, and such the condi- 
tion of Europe, when it was thought expedient to send a Minister 
from the United States to the Court of St. Petersburg. In selecting 
a suitable person for a mission, which was justly regarded at the 
time as one ol" the most important ever sent from our government, 
it is fiir to |)resume, that Mr. Madison would be influenced by the 
?ame sacred regard lor the interests of his country, which, it is ac- 



i 



41 

knowledged, characterised other acts of his administration, ratiit-i" 
than by any private feeUngs, or selfish considerations of pohcy ; 
and that he would seek, in the character of the envoy to be appoint 
ed, not only a sedulous advocate of the just pretensions of the go- 
vernment, but a fit representative of the dignity and independence 
of the Republic. It was necessary to find a man, not only profound- 
ly versed in the law of nations, firm and able in argument, of ap- 
proved fidelity and undoubted piitriotism ; but experienced, also, in 
the manners of foreign Courts, and one who&e talents and whose 
prudence might qualify him to attain and support an honourable rank 
among the celebrated diplomatists, who at that time graced the court 
of Alexander. Such a man Mr. Madison believed he had found in 
John Q,. Adams ; the appointment was accordingly bestowed upon 
him, in June, 1809, and as soon thereafter as he could receive his 
instructions and prepare for his departure, he embarked for 5t. Pe- 
tersburg. 

That the importance of this mission was not overrated, and that 
the choice of the President could not have fallen upon a more able 
or more faithful representative, will be shown in the sequel oftheAC 
letters- TELL. 



LETTER IX. 

Gentlemen : After a long interval of silence, which has bee,ii 
produced, partly by causes ofer which 1 had no control, and partly 
by my disinclination to withdraw the attention of your readers 
from the consideration of theif more immediate interests in the 
State elections, recently terminated, — 1 now resume my pen, for 
the purpose of bringing once more to your notice the important 
subject of the Presidential election. It will be remembered that, 
in my last letter, I had just entered upon the examination of Mr. 
Adams's diplomatic services. I endeavoured to show, by a brief 
review of the political state of Europe, at the period of his ap- 
pointment as Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia, that the difficul- 
ties and embarrassments of the commercial world, were more deep- 
ly felt by the people of the United States, than they had ever 
been at any former period ; that the mission was therefore regard- 
ed as one of the highest importance ; and that it was with a full 
conscioueuessof its possessing thischaracter, that the able statesman 
then at the head of our government, selected Mr. Adams to repre- 
sent and support the rights and interests of the country. It now 
remains to be shown, that these great duties were performed in a 
manner to justify the choice of Mr. Madison, and to produce es- 
sential and lasting benelite to the people. 

In following Mr. Adams through his ministerial career, however, it 

must not be expected that I shall go into n minute chronological or 

historical detail of the various discussions in which he took part ; or 

that I shall, iaevery instance, enter intoany analysis of (he conreeyr 

F 



# 

42 

argument, by which he sustained the several objects of his nego- 
tiation. It will be suiricieni to touch upon some of the most im- 
portant subjects of controversy, and to notice the results in the 
RusRian cabinet, so far as they concerned the United States, and 
were the unquestionable effect ot the zeal and ability with which 
the discussion was managed, on the part of our minister. 

From circumstances into which it is not now necessary to en- 
quire, Mr. Adams took his passage to St. Petersburg in a common 
merchant vessel. His arrival was therefore unaccompanied by any 
of that display of national pride and power, which usually attends 
a foreign mission, and which, whatever ma^ be said to the contrary, 
has an absolute intluence in conciliating respect and attention — par- 
totularly at a court so notoriously addicted to parade and show as 
thiif of St. Petersburg. Notwithstanding tbis plain and simple style 
of his debut, however, he had every reason to be satisfied with the 
reception with which he was greeted by the Emperor Alexander. 
It was not only in the most flattering degree, frank, cordial, and ro- 
spectful to himself individually, but indicative of the most friendly 
disposition towards the country xvhich he came to represent. He 
was received and treated in the same manner by the whole diplo- 
matic corps then at St. Petersburg; and there can be no doubt that 
he was indebted for it to the dignity of his own character and de- 
portment alone. It would scarcely have been deenred necessary 
to mention a fact so little important in itself, but that it serves to 
refute a malicious slander which has been industriously circulated 
by the enemies of Mr. Adams, that the utter insignificance of his 
character rendered him an object of contempt at the Russian Court, 
and that his aukardness of deportment was a standing jest of 
the Emperor in the splendid circles of the palace ! — Nor is this 
the only calumny, invented by the impudence and impotence of 
those, who have searched the records of his public and private life 
in vain, to find some foundation of truth upon which to raise an ob- 
jection to Mr. Adams. It has been audaciously asserted, that when 
the sovereign of Russia proposed to mediate for peace between the 
United States and Great Britain, he regarded Mr. Adams with so 
little respect or consideration as not even to apprise him of the fact 
of his ofi'er to the British Embassador, or of that to our government, 
which was made through his own minister here. And the unblush- 
ing fabricator of this falsehood has even had the temerity to appeal 
to the correspondence of Mr. Adams with his own government, in 
support of his asseition ! But we shall take occasion to speak of 
this again, when we shall have reached the proper epoch in the 
history of the negotiation ; and shall then see how far truth will 
bear him out in the ajipeal. 

Inordinary times, the relations between the United States and 
Pnssia are not of a nature to create many subjects of diplomatic 
discussion, and but little more is necessary to a friendly intercourse, 
than thetnere cere inony of exclianging ministers. But the case 
was widely dilTerent at the period of Mr. Adams's mission to that 



43 

country. He had scarcely arrived at St. Petersburg before treaties 
of peace were concluded, not only between France and Austria, 
but between Russia and Sweden. Some of the stipulations in these 
treaties were peculiarly interesting to the United States ; inasmuch 
as they seemed to secure the ultimate success of the continental 
system, and of course to place under still greater restrictions the 
commerce of neutral nations. The ports of Sweden had before 
been open to British vessels, and to the free admission of British 
colonial productions. This circumstance, by leaving to the British 
the means of controlling the commerce of the Baltic, enabled 
them, under the protection of their immense naval force, to carry 
on a trade throughout the north of Europe, in spite of the restric- 
tive decrees of the French Emperor, scarcely less extensive than 
that allowed in times of peace. 

The free admission of British vessels and of British merchandize, 
deprived the courts and cruizers of the northern powers of all 
plea for the detention and sequestration of American property, 
since it was only upon the suspicion of British interest in the latter 
that the restrictive system had been made to operate. So long 
therefore as the ports of Sweden remained open, our commerce in 
the Baltic suffered but little interruption ; but the total exclusiou 
of British vessels and British colonial articles, and the difficulty^ — 
which has been explained in a former letter-r-of distinguishina; be- 
tween the simulated papers of British vessels and the real ^Ameri- 
can documendation, necessarily gave to the treaty between Russia 
and Sweden, the effect of operating injuriously upon American 
commerce. 

The treaty subsequently concluded between Sweden and Den 
mark, which contained similar stipulations; and the onJar o'f se- 
questration soon after issued by the Danish sovereign, completed 
the embarrassment of our commercial relations, and left us little 
more than the empty name of neutrals. 

Such a state of aiiairs could not but give a character of peculiar 
delicacy to the negotiations of oUr minister at St. Petersburg. It 
created a perpetual conflict of interests between the' United States 
and nearly all the other powers who" were represented at that.capi- 
°tal. We had no minister in Holland, Sweden, or Denmark, in the 
porta of all which countries, numerous Americans were detained, 
and millions of property held in suspense. If Mr. Adams volun- 
tarily enlarged the sphere of his negotiations, so as to embrafce our 
relations with these countries, he would be thus assuming the heavy 
responsibility of interfering in matters not directly entrusted to 
him, the issue of which might not afford him the justificjltion of suc- 
cess. If, on the other hand, he refused to listen to tlie'l€!tters and me- 
morials which crowded upon him from ereryport in the Baltic, soli- 
citinghis interposition, our citizens and tlVeirii'roperty were left with- 
out protection, to the decisions of Courts wbich were governed by no 
law but that of arbitrary power. His situation was novel and embar- 
ra??sing. He might, it is true, have wm\v avoided the responsibility 



44 

and the trouble of imerference, by answering his countrymen with* 
simple stalementof the fact, that his instructions confined him to our 
relations with Russia alone. But, happily, Mr. Adams was not a 
man to retire from any responsibility, or to shrink from any trouble, 
which held out a hope of benefit to his country, or of relief to his 
suffering fellow citizens. Where he could not officially demand 
attention in the name of his government, he did not hesitate to ask 
it as a personal favour to himself; and even before he had reach- 
ed his destination, he had the satisfaction of being eminently useful 
to a number of captured Americans by an extra-official interposi- 
tion in their behalf with one of the Northern Courts. 

Soon after his arrival at St. Petersburg, a similar opportunity 
occurred of putting (o the proof the sincerity of the Emperor's 
professions of pero-onal respect and good will, and of evincing the 
degree of consideration in which he was held ia the diplomatic cir- 
cle. On the first order of sequestration issued by the Danish govern- 
ment, against the American vessels and their cargoes then in the 
ports of Sieswick and Holstein, a number of those immediately 
aflected by the order, among whom were several metchants of the 
most respectable character and standing, transmitted to Mr. Adams 
a statement of the facts, and earnestly solicited him to make such 
interference for their relief as might be consistent with bis official 
duties. A direct application to the Court of Denmark, as it did 
not come within the limits of his ministerial authority, would 
probably have been answered with evasion, if not with a less civil 
denial of his right to interfere. But the solicitations of his coun- 
trymen were too urgent, and their situation in reality too distres- 
sing to be wholly disregarded. He determined therefore to ask 
the tnte^rposition of the Russian Emperor ; and for this purpose 
sought an immediate interview with the grand chancellor. Count 
Romanzoff, to whom he made a full representation of the case, 
and ex[)re88ed his wish that the Emperor might be solicited, as a 
matter of favour to himself, to exert his influence with the Da- 
nish government, for the release of the Americans and their pro- 
perty, which has been thus illegally arrested. Nor did his person- 
al efiprts stop here ; having reason to believe that Denmark 
had been merely the passive instrument of France in the adop- , 
tion of this oppressive measure, and that its object was to sup- 
press the commerce which the English were carrying on with the 
ports of Holstein, he waited upon the Duke of Vicenza, the French 
Embassador then at the Court of St. Petersburg. To him he re- 
presented, not only the injustice, hut the impolicy, of insisting 
npon measures which tended to break up all distinctions between 
the English and Americans, or which, still more at war with their 
professed purposes, under colour of striking at the English, bad 
their effect of rigour only upon the Americans. He hoped, that if 
i-' ranee hafi really no other object than to put a stop to the illicit 
trade of the English, she would have no hesitation in interposing 
with Denrriark for the release of all bona Jide American property. 



45 

Mr. Adams waited also upon the Danish Embassador, the Baron 
de Blome, to whom, after making a frank acknowledgement of the 
interftrences which he had solicited, he used such further argu- 
ments as the nature of his application permitted, and as were cal- 
culated to show the absurdity as well as inefficacy of measures 
tending to distress and ruin the Americans, who were the com- 
mercial rivals of Great Britain, for the purpose of affecting the 
trade of the latter. 

From all these distinguished ministers, Mr. Adams received the 
most respectful attention — an attention the more honourable to hioi 
as it was a tribute to his private character, rather than to his pub- 
lic station. The Emperor Alexander, upon the first intimation to 
him of Mr. Adams's reciuest, expressed his gratification at the op- 
portunity it afforded him of manifesting his friendship for the Uni- 
ted States, as well as his personal regard for their envoy, and or- 
dered an immediate representation to be made to the Danish gov- 
ernment of his wish for the sj)eedy restoration of the Americaa 
property. The influence of Alexander with the Danish Sove- 
reign may be seen in the result of his interference, which is at the 
same time the best evidence that can he given, not only of Mr- 
Adams's devotion to the interests of his country, but of the high 
estimation in which he was held at the Court of this powerful So- 
vereign. Upwards of five millions of American property were ul- 
timately restored ; every cent of which, it is believed, would have 
beeH lost, but for the zealous interference of Mr. Adams. TELL. 



LETTER X. 

GErfTLEMEN — In ray last letter, it was observed, that the pecu- 
liar state of political affairs in Europe about the period of Mr 
Adams'a embassy to Russia, produced a perpetual conflict of inter- 
ests between the United States and the powers which had 
fully united in the restrictive system of Napoleon. This contin- 
ued to be the case during the whole of the year 1810 and a great 
part of the year 1811. Our commerce in the northern seas wag 
made to suffer every hardship and wrong, which the ambition or 
the rapacity of the belligerents could inflict upon a defenceless 
neutral. Notwithstanding the good disposition which had been, 
in several instances, manifested towards us by the Danish govern- 
ment, and the equitable principles by which it constantly profess- 
ed to be actuated, the conduct which it observed towards us bore 
every mark of the most inveterate hostility, and evinced a tota? 
disregard of every principle of justice. 

It was very soon evident, that this strange and unprincipled in-, 
congmity of profession and practice on the part of Denmark, was 
the work of the French Emperor, whose influence %Ya8 paramount 
at Copenhagen. He had, it is true, but lately instructed tb«? 
Diike of Cadore to declare to our minister at Pari?, that hT« ma> 



m 

(er loved Ike Americans, and that their prosperity and their com- 
merce were within the scope of his policy-^bwi this amicable declara- 
tion had scarcely passed the lips ol the noble Duke, when orders were 
issued by the Sovereigns of Denmark, Mecklenburg, and Prussia, 
uxcluding all American vessels from their ports ; and iheir Sove- 
reigns were notoriously the mere puppets of Napoleon, in hia 
yrand scheme of cutting off the commerce of England with the 
Continent. 

The 5»ame efforts were made at St. Petersburg to obtain from 
Alexander a similar demonstration of love for the Americans. — 
Tlie Duke of Vicenza, whose rank of ambassador gave him the 
privilege of frequent personal intercourse with the Russian Sove- 
reign, lost no opportunity of endeavouring to persuade bis Imperial 
]\Iaje8ty, that his protection of American commerce was not only 
incompatible with his alliance with France, but was in fact a di- 
rect encouragement to the trade of their common e.viemy, Eng- 
land ; and that his own policy therefore required the exclusion of 
American vessels from the |)orts of Russia, or at least, a prohibi- 
tion of all colonial articles. It was even reported that the Uuke 
had actually demanded o{ ihe Autocrat, in terms of threatening 
import, the immediate adoption of the latter measure — which 
would, in its effect, have amounted to an exclusion of our ves- 
sels, as our trade with Russia consisted principally of colonial 
merchandize. The report, derogatory as it was to the independence 
of their Sovereign, gained credit with some of the principal mer- 
chants of St. Petersburg, who in great alarm held a meeting 
among themselves, for the purpose of devising means to counter- 
act t])e intrigues and machinations of France. They regarded the 
proftosilions a-i fraught with the most pernicious consequences, 
not only to (heir own individual interests, but to those of the em- 
pire at large, and they were seriously apprehensive, less the anx- 
iety which the emperor had constantly manifested to maintain, at 
all hazards, the friendly footing upon which he stood with Napo- 
leon, might induce him to make the sacrifice. Intelligence of the 
meeting was coamiunicated to the French ambassador, who, find- 
ing that the rumour in circulation was rapidly exciting feelings by 
Ao means favorable to the advancement of his project, caused it 
to be denieil that any such demand had been made ; but the deni- 
al itself was accompanied by so unequivocal an avowal of the 
fxpcctalions of France on the subject, that it tended rather to ex- 
acerbate than allay the excitement produced by the ref)ort. 

The condiu'i which Russia might ultimately adopt, in relation 
to this lea<ling feature of the continental system, was of moment- 
ous ccmcern to the commercial interest of the United States. Our 
trade with the north of Europe, already reduced to a shadow, 
\vould have been wholly annihilated by an exclusion from Russia ; 
and it had hitherto been the first principal of her policy to avoid 
iivery cause of disagreement with France. She had already, in- 
d'.'ed, assrnted, evidently in pursuance of this principle, and not 



47 

because her own interests required it, to the proMhlllon of seve- 
ral articles of colonial produce ; an<l there was every reason to 
fear, that if France persisted in demanding the full sacrifice, Rus- 
sia would he induced to make it, rather than throw herself upoa 
the alternative of a war, for which she was not prepared. 

It mu3t be obvious that, under such circumstances, the Ameri- 
carr minister had an arjjluous and dilticult task to ptrlorni. In ad- 
vocating the rights and interests of his own country, he had not 
only to contend against the imtncnse power and influence of France, 
and the secret intrigues as well as open negotiations of all the for- 
eign ministers at St. Petersburg ; but he had also to combat the 
jirejudices and fears of the liussian government itself; to recon- 
cile the policy of protecting neutral commerce with the most per- 
fect good faith to France j and to demonstrate the absolute ineffi- 
ciency of the whole continental systenj as a mean of bringing Eng- 
land to peace. It would perhaps be too much to say, that tlie 
conviction produced by the reasoning of Mr. Adams, was the sole 
ground of the Russian decision upon this important question ; and 
yet if we take into consideration the earnest desire of Alexander 
to preserve peace with France, the strong and anxious voice of 
all his council to the same effect, and the threatening movements 
of French troops, which io<iicated an intention on the part of 
Napoleon to enforce his demand at the point of the bayonet, it is 
hardly possible to conceive that any other influence could have 
operated upon the Russian government, to induce it to persist in 
keeping the ports of the Empire open to American commerce, 
and to the admission of colonial merchandize. Whateveii» miy 
have been the causes, it is certain that the triumph of the Amer- 
ican minister was complete, in the attainment of the object to 
which his negotiation was directed ; and it is no equivocal evi- 
dence of the masterly style of his arguments, that they succeeded 
against the powerful inducements which opposed a decision so un- 
favourable to the designs of France. 

Another question of intermediate interest to the United Slates, 
and in the discussion of which Mr. Adams was again brought in- 
to collision with the French Ambassador, related to the admis- 
sion of a large fleet of American vessels, which had been detain- 
ed at some of the out ports of Russia, to await the necessary ex- 
amination by the Commission of neutral navigation. In propor- 
tion as this examination promised the favourable decision of the 
Commission as to the neutral character of the property, the French 
government became more active in its machinations to counteract 
such a result. The Moniteiir, the French official gazette, began 
by insinuating that though these vessels were under Jlmerkan 
colours, they were employed by Ens^lish merchants ; that Ihouirh 
they might he provided with all necessary certificates and clear 
ances, yet it was notorious that such papers v/ei-e fabricated in 
London, and that the American flag was constantly prostituted to 
cover the illicit trade ot the English. Th? Duke of \'icen7,a 



^ 48 

next allegetl, that they were furnished with certijieaics oj ongia 
from the French Conaula in the United States, and argued that 
these musl be forgeries, inasmuch as the French Consuls in Amer- 
ica had long since been ordered to deliver no more such papers. This 
was alterwards repeated in an oflicial form by the French Consul 
at St. Petersburg, who was ordered by his government to make a 
formal declaration to the Russian minister oj' State, that the papers 
I)roduced as certificates of origin were not given by the French 
Consuls, and must necessarily be forgeries. 

The fate of nearly one hundred vessels hung upon the issue of 
this examination ; nor was this all ; for, upon the nature of the 
decisions in these cases, would depend the extent of our future 
commerce wi'h Ilussia. Jt m&y i^m somewhat extraordinary, 
that, ae certificates of orlgia Irom French Consuls were not at all 
requisite to the admission of American vessels into the ports of 
Russia, their fate should be in any manner connected with the 
question of the authcnliciiy of these papers. But the mystery van- 
ishes, when it is known, that, by the existing laws of Russia, th'e 
entire cargo ol any vessel bearing a forged paper, was made sub- 
ject to ceifiscaiion. The French government were well aware of 
this regulation; and as there was but little hope of establishing 
the charge of British interest, at least in a majority of the cases, if 
they could induce credit to be given the declaration which they had 
caused to be made to the Russian government with regard to the 
Consular certificates, they knew that sentences of confiscation 
would follow, and that thus their object would be accomplished 
against the American vessels, as effectually as by the proof that 
they were British propert}'. 

With regard to the real American character of the vessels and 
their cargoes, Mr. Adams did not find much difficulty in satisfying 
the Russian government. By several of the vessels, he had re- 
ceived both public and private letters, the dates of which were 
abundant evidence that they had proceeded directly from the Uni- 
ted States, and that they could not have touched at any port \a 
England. But as it respected the authenticity of the Consular 
Certificates, he had nothing to oppose to the French official decla- 
ration that they were false, but the evidence of the papers them- 
selves, and his own confidence in the truth of those who produced 
them as genuine. He contended, that though it might be true 
that the French government had given orders to their Consuls in 
America to issue no more such papers, it did not follow that those 
orders had been received before the sailing of the vessels ; that 
this untimely and indelicate disavowal of the acts of their own 
accredited agents, wouUl only tend to destroy all future confi- 
dence in them ; and that it served to show, that France where 
she could not coniviaiul, would resort without scruple to falsehood 
and deception lo accomplish the same object — thus falsifying the 
acts of her own officers, and bringing the charge of forgery against 
the American vessels, with a view to prevent Russia from enjoy- 



49 

hig the benefits of a commerce, from \^ hich she herself was debar- 
retl. 

The result of this discussion is well known to onr merchants. 
The untiring perseverance, manly spirit, profound wisdom and 
knowledge of European policy, with which it was carried on under 
every disadvantiige, forced even the French Ambassador to retire 
from his positions; and the decisions of the Russian government, 
alforded Mr. A. the satisfaction of congratulating his countrymen, 
who had been so long held in suspense, upon the successful vindi~ 
cation of their integrity, and their admission to the full enjoyment 
of the Russian trade and protection. TELI.. 



LETTER XI. 

Gentlemen : — It is not always in conducting a particular nego^ 
tiation to the desired issue, that a minister abroad has it most in his 
power to display his diplomatic fitness and capacity, or to render 
the most acceptable service to his country. If he be an habitual 
and sagacious observer of what passes around him ; if he be a man 
of prudence and sound discretion, endowed with the faculty of just 
discrimination ; — if he possess a mind eager to seek, and ready to 
receive, increase of knowledge from every source which may pre- 
sent itself; a judgment chastened and corrected by extensive obser- 
vation and experience, and incorruptible moral integrity, dignity, 
and lirmness of deportment and conduct, and above all, a sincere 
patriotic desire to advance the permanent interests and glory of his 
country : — if this be the charao;ter, temper, and disposition, of the 
envoy — and unless it he, he would scarcely deserve to be regarded 
as more than a common messenger — his official situation gives him 
opportunities of collecting, arranging, and imparting to his govern- 
ment, a mass of information ^ in relation to the civil and political his- 
tory of other nations, their principles of government, modes of ad- 
ministration, natural resources and connexions, habits, intercourse 
and necessities, of infinitely greater and more lasting benefits to his 
country, than the attainment of any single object of negotiation, 
whatever may be the extent or importance of its temporary eft'ects. 
It is in this way only, that a foreign minister can properly be said to 
fultil all the duties of his appointment, or to deserve the reputatioo 
of a profound and skilful statesman. 

Those who are acquainted with the course of education, prin- 
ciplea and habits of Mr. Adams, need not be told, that his charac- 
ter combined, in a pre-eminent degree, all these requisite qualifi- 
cations of an able minister. A long residence abroad, under pe- 
culiarly favourable circumstances, both in a private and public ca- 
pacity, before he was sent to Russia, had enabled him to add to 
his other advantages, the acquisition of a practical and thorough 
knowledge of most of the languages of Europe. This knowledge 
jiot only afforded him the means of becoming more intimately ac- 



'&0 

f[uaiuted with the temper aod disposUion of the sovereign at whose 
court he resided, and of the ministers through whom his negotia- 
tions w^re conducted; but it gave hitn facilities of intercourse with 
the contemporary ministers fro?n other countries; it enabled him 
to reach sources of information, as to the mutual relations of those 
countries, and the particular policy by which each was influenced, 
from which others were excluded, or which could come to them 
only through the corrupt channels of inler[»reters and translators ; 
and finally — which is not the least of the many advantages derived 
to a minister from a knowledge of the languajs:e of those with whom 
he corresponds — it enabled hirn to see and comprehend the nice 
and delicate shades of distinction, in the diplomatic construction 
of terms, upon which the whole efl'ect of an important discussion 
is often uiacle to depend. 

The official correspondence of Mr. Adams with his government, 
during his residence in Russia, will abundantly confirm what is here 
said of his superior qualifications and acquirements. His letters 
display a consummate knowledge of mankind, and exhibit an 
acuteness of remark, a patience of investigation, an extent and 
variety of information, political, historical, and miscellaneous, 
which will continue to afibrd mierest and instruction to the states- 
man, long after the particular objects of the mission shall have 
been forgotten. At the Russian Court, which was at that time 
remarkable for the brilliancy of its diplomatic circle, the character 
of Mr. Adams well understood and properly estimated; and no 
foreign minister there enjoyed a higher distinction. Nor was the 
respect which he inspired confined to his ministerial character, as 
is evinced by the warm interest expressed, even now, in the 
household of the Emperor, whenever any thipg transpires, in which 
his name is concerned. But let us return to the history of this 
mission : 

It may be readily imagined, that France was not very well sa- 
tisfied with the determined protection, which Russia seemed inclin- 
ed to extend to neutral commerce. In the first place, the refusal 
of the Emperor to unite in the measure adopted bj' Prussia, S»ve- 
den, and Denmark, of excluding all American vesf< 's fronj their 
ports : his decision in the second place, with regard to the French 
tariff of prohibitory duties upon all colonial merchandise ; and 
lastly his refusal to confiscate, or even to exclude, the American 
xessels from Gottenhurg, on the pretext set up by France, (as ex- 
plained in my last letter,) that they were English property' in dis- 
guise. — which amounted in fact to an expression of distrust in the 
rcracilij of the French government, — were all disagreeable mani- 
festations of good will towards the United States, and just so ma- 
ny insu[terable obstacles to the full success of Napoleon's favourite 
scheme of policy. While Russia refused to join in the " auto da 
/>'" of English (uerchandise — as the burning decree of Napoleon 
was called — or to shut her ports against the neutral commerce, it 
^vas probable that the famous continental system would either re- 



51 

main a dead letter, or have the effi'ct of injurioua operation upoa 
•those powers ouly who mo^^t taithlully rulhered to it. 

The feelings ol' the French E.iiperor on (he subject, were soon 
made evident in the recal of tlie Du!ce of Viceiiza, IVom tlie court 
of St. Petersburg. This measure, it ia true, was ascribed to the?// 
health o{ ihe Duke, and the appoinlmenlof a successor to hirrf, accom- 
panied professions, on the part of Napoleon, of unaltered friend--^hip 
for his august aily, seemed to confirm tliis pretence. But the mi- 
litary r^oveuients and warlike preparations, which were unremit- 
tingly pursued throughout (he French empire, told a different sto- 
ry, and afforded strons; grounds of belief that the moment was at 
hand, when the peaceful relations of the two countries would be 
broken up. 

Alexander was not blind to the preparations of his Imperial 
friend, nor to their concealed object. He had been even more ac- 
tive, indeed, than Napoleon, in preparing to defend himself; but 
though he was now completely ready for an appeal to arma, and 
might have obtained immense advantages, by seizing any one of 
the many pretexts which Napoleon had given him, to strike the 
first blow, yet he chose rather to persist in his peaceful policy, and 
not become the aggressor. In pursuance of this policy. Count 
Jiauriston, the successor of the Duke of Vicenza, was received 
with every mark of the most distinguished courtesy, while the re- 
tiring minister carried with him more signal proof of the Emperor's 
^punificfcot kindness, than bad ever before been Jbestowed Uj>on a 
foreign envoy ; and, for a time, all rumour of war between ihe 
two empires was hushed. 

In enumerating the grounds of difference between France and 
Russia, 1 have purposely confined myself to those in which the 
United States were a party concerned. There were others, and 
probably important, cause of disagreement between them ; but 
they were chiefly of a nature to admit of easj' adjustment ; or, at 
least, they were not such as would very speedily have led to an 
open rupture. Those points, on the contrary, in the discussion of 
which the interests of the United States required that Mr. Adams 
should take part, were, as I have shown, so intimately connected 
with the Continental System, upon the full operation of which Na- 
poleon founded all his hopes of bringing England to his feet, that 
(he decisions of Russia, as lately adoj)ted upon them, might be 
regarded as the triumph of neutral rights, and of course as a death 
blow to the policy, which France had been so long labouring 
to establish. This state of aflairs, so plainly indicative of the de- 
clining influence of the French empeior, so favourable to the com- 
mercial interests of the United States — so essential indeed to the 
very existence of their commerce with the continent of Europe, 
was, if not wholly [)roduced by the wise and prudent exertions of 
Mr. Adams, certainly attributable in a great measure, to his un- 
wearied zeal, his luminous discussions, his [)ersonal influence, and 
Ihe high respect entertained by the counsellors of his Rn^hiau ma- 



1)2 

jestj, lor his deep political foTesiglit, and profound sagacity as a 
statesman. 

These are facts which speak more loudly than a thousand com- 
ments, in praise of Mr. Adams. We have no example in our di- 
plomatic history, of a minister so peculiarly and so delicately si- 
tuated a^ was Mr. Adams in Russia : this deserves to be constant- 
ly held in remembrance, in order to do full justice to hia merits. — 
Other envoys, to other countries, have been, in the very nature of 
things, circumscribed to narrower limits in their negotiations : they 
have been for the most part, confined to discussions with a single 
government, upon the exclusive relations of that srovernment with 
our own. In Rui?sia, on the contrary, almost every proposition ia 
which the interests of the United States were concerned, was ei- 
ther immediately or remotely connected with some other foreign 
relation, and met with the uniform resistance, secret or open, of 
nearly all the powers in a/ulty or alliance with that empire. All 
the influence and arrogance of a power, unaccustomed to control ; 
all the intrigue, cunnine, and tinesse of numerous subordinate 
agents, anxious to win the approving smile of the great Master 
Spirit, were brought into active operation against us. 

Tlje courage even to enter the field against such appalling odds, 
was in ifsetf a wreath of honour to our Minister ; but, to be able 
to maintain his ground, and still more, to atchieve repeated victo- 
ries over the hosts that opposed him, was a triumph, which raises 
the diplomatic character of Mr. Adams, to a point of pre-erainence^i 
which posterity will long regard with admiration, and which his 
country cannot but feel proud to contemplate. We shall have oc- 
casion, as we proceed, to observe how nobly he sustained this 
character, ia the further negotiations which circumstances impose<^ 
upon him. TELL. 



I 



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